MTPR

Flathead National Forest

The trail to Piper Creek falls within the bounds of the proposed Swan Forest Initiative’s conservation forest.
Nicky Ouellet

For more than half a decade, the Lake County Conservation District has been working on a proposal to transfer management of 60,000 acres from the Flathead National Forest to the state for the next 100 years.

The Flathead National Forest is hosting an open house on a proposed timber sale near Bigfork.

The open house for the Bug Creek Forest Health and Fuels Reduction Project happens February 6 at the Swan Lake Ranger Station in Bigfork. The agency will have specialists on hand to answer questions, it’s taking public comment on the proposal until February 16.

Skier, file photo.
PD

The Kootenai National Forest is making changes for more accurate avalanche forecasting this winter.

The Kootenai National Forest is splitting its avalanche forecast in two: one report covers the western part of the forest, which shares characteristics with the Idaho Panhandle. A separate forecast is issued for the Whitefish Range, which more closely resembles conditions in the Flathead National Forest.

The Flathead National Forest released the final draft of its new forest plan Dec. 14, 2017.
Nicky Ouellet

The Flathead National Forest released the final draft of its new forest plan Thursday morning after four years of fine-tuning and analysis. The plan will guide land use decision making for the next 10 to 15 years.

Flathead National Forest Supervisor Chip Weber says writing a guiding document like this is a balancing act between thousands of stakeholders.

The Southwestern Crown Collaborative visits a burn site from the Rice Ridge Fire near Seeley Lake.
Brittany Greeson, Crossing The Divide

Wildfires burned more than a million acres across Montana this year, making it one of the most expensive fire seasons since 1999. While the smoke has cleared, the debate over wildfires and forest management is ongoing. Some Montana lawmakers are blaming what they call "environmental extremists" who've managed to stop some logging. But ecologists say it's more complicated than that. In an effort to learn how to live with wildfires, the Southwestern Crown Collaborative is one group trying to find common ground.

Flathead National Forest Proposes Fee Increases

Oct 20, 2017
The Flathead National Forest is now taking comments on how it should manage the three forks of the Flathead River.
U.S. Forest Service

The Flathead National Forest is proposing an increase in fees for renting 12 cabins and lookouts and one campground. The proposal also includes a new fee for one campground.

Almost all of the money would go towards operating and maintaining local cabins and campgrounds. Public Affairs Officer for the forest Janette Turk said the forest needs to increase fees to pay for improvements like roads and daily patrols in campgrounds and new furniture and appliances in the cabins.

This map shows the burn severity as of August 22, 2017 for the Park Creek Fire, one of the biggest fires in the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest this year.
INCIWEB

The Helena-Lewis and Clark Forest lifted all fire related closures today. Several other national forests in Montana reduced fire restrictions or closures over the last several weeks. 

Decision On Swan Forest Initiative Due Thursday

Sep 13, 2017
A map of lands in the Swan Forest Initiative
Lake County Conservation District

There’s a decision coming up on a proposal to have the state of Montana take over management of some federal lands.

The Lake County Conservation District board will decide tomorrow whether to move forward with state management of some Flathead National Forest land in the Swan Valley.

Beaver Creek Project Selected Alternative-North
Flathead National Forest

Environmental conservation groups are suing to block a plan to log, thin, and prescription-burn about 2,900 acres in the Flathead National Forest. The groups say it violates federal laws.

The Beaver Creek Project borders Lindbergh Lake and the Mission Mountain Wilderness. Rich Kehr, the Flathead Forest’s Swan Lake District Ranger, says the biggest driver in the project is wildfire concerns.

A member of the Flathead Hotshots walks the fire line at the edge of a prescribed burn near Lakeside this spring
Nicky Ouellet

Fire season arrived in Montana this month. As crew leaders set up command centers and assess the flames, they’re seeing the product of previous management decisions that have shaped the forest.

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