MTPR

Pyramid Mountain Lumber

Map of "Priority Landscapes" for forest management projects on the Lolo National Forest.
Lolo National Forest

Two proposed logging projects in the Seeley Lake area are the latest in a statewide push towards more use of a collaborative federal and state timber harvest program.

The Lolo National Forest wants to partner with the State of Montana on a pair of so-called Good Neighbor Authority projects to log about 5,000 acres of Forest Service land near Seeley Lake.

CORRECTION: The orginal draft of this story said this bill would remove wilderness study designation to some public lands. The bill does not address wilderness study areas. 

For the third time in three years, Sen. Jon Tester held a rally for a bill he’s sponsoring to expand federally designated wilderness in northwest Montana, and allow some snowmobile and mountain bike use on public lands in the area.

About two hundred people packed the Kettlehouse Brewing taproom in Bonner over the noon hour to hear Tester speak at an event hosted by the Montana Wilderness Association. They’re all hoping this is the year the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act passes.

Pyramid Mountain Lumber Company in Seeley Lake, Montana
Nick Mott

Amidst the golden, glowing larches bordering Seeley Lake, freshly cut one-by-fours stream down a sort of disassembly line. This is Pyramid Mountain Lumber Company, and it’s one of increasingly few places in Montana where cut trees are turned into timber.

Primm Meadow is meadow of old growth ponderosa pine trees a little upstream from where the Blackfoot River joins the Clark Fork, northeast of Missoula.
Eric Whitney

Last week I visited a cherished and protected little piece of Montana. It's a meadow of old growth ponderosa pine trees a little upstream from where the Blackfoot River joins the Clark Fork, northeast of Missoula.

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.

A timber sale that aims to reduce fire danger has been approved by the Bitterroot National Forest near last year’s Roaring Lion fire site.

Bitterroot National Forest Supervisor Julie King announced Tuesday that Pyramid Mountain Lumber of Seeley Lake has been awarded a timber contract for the Westside Collaborative Vegetation Management Project on the Darby/Sula Ranger District.  The project includes over 2,000 acres of National Forest System lands between Lost Horse Creek and Roaring Lion Creek southwest of Hamilton.

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. 

PD

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s carefully and seriously considering a request from the premier of British Columbia to deny U.S. coal exports through Vancouver.

PD

The largest and longest-running trade dispute between the U.S. and Canada may be coming to a head on Tuesday.

It could cause a big pinch for our neighbors to the north and it’s likely to drive up the cost of lumber for homebuilders and consumers in the U.S. But it could be a positive for Montana timber mills.

“It would put a little more light at the end of the tunnel for all of us," Gordy Sanders, a resource manager with Pyramid Mountain Lumber in Seeley Lake, says.

Montana Governor Steve Bullock announces the National Forest and Rangeland Management Initiative at Pyramid Mountain Lumber in Seeley Lake Montana August 16, 2016..
Corin Cates-Carney

In June, Montana’s Democratic Governor Steve Bullock was elected chairman of the Western Governors' Association. The WGA is made up of 14 Republicans, six Democrats and two independents.

Tuesday, Bullock announced that he’s launching a new WGA initiative. He’s calling it the National Forest and Rangeland Management Initiative.

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