Montana Public Radio

logging

Gov. Greg Gianforte announced Friday that the state awarded $4.5 million to 14 forest projects meant to bolster the timber industry, restore forest health and reduce wildfire risk.

The projects funded fall under the Montana Forest Action Plan, a new document that will guide forestry in the state for the next decade.

Map showing the vicinity of the propose Stovepipe Project on the Flathead National Forest.
U.S. Forest Service

The Flathead National Forest released its environmental assessment Tuesday for the Stovepipe Project northwest of Kalispell. The project aims to reduce the risk of intense fires in the wildland-urban interface and is expected to reduce some grizzly bear habitat.

The view southeast over the McKillop Creek Road near Libby, Montana. The land is part of the private timber lands in northwest Montana belonging to Southern Pine Plantations.
Chris Boyer / Kestrelaerial.com

The owner of a large block of private timberland in northwest Montana says it’s likely done its last major land sale after a deal announced this week. Southern Pine Plantations sold 125,000 acres of timberland west of Kalispell.

SkiDale Timber Sale harvest area map, July 22, 2020.
Montana DNRC

Earlier this week, Gov. Greg Gianforte announced one of the first timber sales to go through a state-federal partnership this year. The amount of timber cut through the Good Neighbor Authority this year is expected to nearly double compared to 2020.

Kootenai National Forest sign.
Josh Burnham

On Wednesday, the Kootenai National Forest signaled that it's moving forward on a sprawling and controversial logging project.

The U.S. Forest Service says the roughly 100,000-acre Black Ram Project would reduce wildfire risk in the wildland-urban interface near Troy, Montana, while encouraging fire’s natural role in the ecosystem and restoring historic forest conditions.

A stack of logs.
(PD)

291,000 acres of private timberlands in northwest Montana have a new owner. Washington state-based Green Diamond closed the deal with Southern Pine Plantations this week.

Montana State Senate
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Montana Republicans' dominance on election day included winning a stronger conservative majority in the statehouse for the 2021 legislative session. Republicans appear to have flipped several seats in Montana’s House of Representatives, and at least one seat in the state Senate, making the Republican majority in both chambers ironclad.

An map excerpt of the Soldier-Butler Project area.
Lolo National Forest

Two conservation groups Friday sued the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over a proposed logging project in the Lolo National Forest on land wildlife managers say is important for grizzly bear connectivity.

Talking about Montana's environment, our public lands and waterways, is one of the fastest ways for politicians to gain credibility here. After all, about a third of the land in this state belongs to you and me. Big, sprawling swaths of natural beauty are a defining feature of Montana. So much so, the preamble to the Constitution goes on at length about the state's landscape. The quiet beauty of our state. The grandeur of our mountains. The vastness of our rolling plains.

But when politicians talk about protecting our outdoor heritage in Montana, what exactly are they protecting and whose interests are they serving?

Daines' Forest Management Bill Hear In Subcommittee

Sep 21, 2020

Montana Senator Steve Daines on Sept. 16 stumped for legislation he helped draft, saying more forest management would protect communities from wildfires.

Republican Daines presented his Emergency Wildfire and Public Safety Act of 2020 to the Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining.

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