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logging

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.

The Park Creek Fire north of Lincoln, summer 2017.
Inciweb

In a visit to the Lolo Peak Fire command post last week, a delegation of cabinet secretaries and Montana’s Republican representatives in Congress made it clear who they think is to blame for the devastating wildfires here in recent years.

"We’re tied up in knots through extensive and ridiculous permitting processes, and frivolous lawsuits from environmental extremists," says Congressman Greg Gianforte.

We’re going to hear from one of the people Gianforte calls an extremist in a moment. He’s the man behind the lawsuit Gianforte is complaining about here:

From left to right, Rep. Greg Gianforte, Sen. Steve Daines, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke during a visit to the Lolo Peak Fire operations center August 24, 2017.
Eric Whitney

Two extraordinary things happened at the incident command post for the Lolo Peak Fire Thursday. One, it rained a little. The National Weather Service said .01 inches of precipitation came down mid-day. Two, a pair of cabinet secretaries, a U.S. Senator, and Montana’s congressman visited.

Preparations are underway for a fuels reduction project in western Montana’s Bitterroot Valley. The Westside Vegetation Management Project and timber sale will take place between Lost Horse and Roaring Lion creeks on the valley’s west side.

“We’ll be doing some thinning, and those logs will be taken to a sawmill somewhere," says Darby District Ranger Eric Winthers. "There’s about 5 million board feet coming out of there – about 680 truckloads total."

"We're not going to roll over every time someone says 'boo' about us wanting to harvest timber to make a healthy forest," U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said at a agriculture summit in Great Falls, MT July 1, 2017.
Eric Whitney

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was in Great Falls Thursday for an “agriculture summit” hosted by Senator Steve Daines. Perdue promised big changes at the U.S. Forest Service, which his department oversees. 

A stack of logs.
(PD)

An escalating trade war brewing between the United States and Canada could save timber mills in Montana, but at the cost of over 1,000 jobs north of the border in British Columbia.

It all started in April, when the Trump administration slapped tariffs on softwood lumber coming across the border, making them up to 24 percent more expensive. It’s something Montana lumber producers have been asking for, and it’s a test of Trump’s ‘America First’ trade policy. 

The Roaring Lion fire burning five miles southwest of Hamilton, MT, July 31, 2016.
Inciweb

Forty-five acres of trees killed by a major wildfire last summer are slated for harvest. The Bitterroot National Forest today announced it’s moving forward on the salvage project in the Roaring Lion draining southwest of Hamilton.

Swan Lake Ranger Station.
Eric Whitney / Montana Public Radio

On Wednesday night, 75 people crowded into the Swan Lake Club House to hear a first of its kind in Montana proposal that would transfer management of some National Forest land to the state.

Live and beetle killed trees in the Helena National Forest.
Steve Jess

Local environmental groups, timber industry representatives, and state and federal agencies will meet in Missoula this week to talk about collaboration. The two-day workshop is put on by the Western Governors' Association.

The U.S. Forest Service will be able to continue with its tree-thinning project in the Elkhorn Mountains.
Josh Burnham (CC-BY-2.0) / MTPR

Governor Steve Bullock announced today he’s committing $1.5 million of state fire suppression funds for various forest restoration and fuel reduction projects.

Montana State Forester Bob Harrington says this is a great use of that money:

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