Montana Public Radio

Swan View Coalition

Map of the proposed Mid-Swan project area, which stretches from just south of Swan Lake to Condon, MT.
Flathead National Forest

The Flathead National Forest released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement last week, moving one step closer to finalizing a 15-year logging and fire mitigation project in the Swan Valley. But critics say the Mid-Swan project, which covers an area larger than Flathead Lake, violates federal law due to the project's lack of specificity.

Map of the Taylor Hellroaring Project.
FS USDA – https://www.fs.usda.gov/nfs/11558/www/nepa/105405_FSPLT3_4301037.pdf

The Flathead National Forest officially approved the Taylor Hellroaring project just north of Whitefish Monday. The project will include nearly 2,000 acres of logging, mechanical thinning and prescribed fire treatments as well as construction of 28 miles of new trails.

Glacier Loon Project Decision Notice April 2018
USDA

A multi-year court battle over the Glacier Loon timber sale in the Swan Valley will continue. The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals is now asking the lower court to decide whether the project needs to be reassessed under different regulations protecting grizzly bears. 

The 2019 Whitefish Trail Legacy Run, scheduled for Sept. 22, has roughly 14 of its route's 31 miles set in Flathead National Forest.
Flathead National Forest / U.S. Forest Service

The U.S. Forest Service approved a special use permit Tuesday for one of two controversial trail running races scheduled in the Flathead Valley later this year. Critics are disappointed, but not surprised. 

The Flathead Forest’s new forest plan was signed in December.
Flathead National Forest

Two conservation groups filed a federal lawsuit this week, challenging the 2018 Flathead Forest Plan.

WildEarth Guardians and Western Watersheds Project say the 10 to 15 year management plan for the 2.4 million acre forest decreases habitat protections for wildlife, including grizzly bears, Canada lynx and bull trout.
 

Grizzly bear. Stock photo.
(PD)

Two Montana-based environmental groups Monday announced they’re preparing to sue the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the recently enacted Flathead National Forest Plan.

Swan View Coalition and Friends of the Wild Swan say the new management plan violates the Endangered Species Act by increasing road building in sensitive habitat for grizzly bears and bull trout. They plan to file their lawsuit if the agencies don’t act within the next 60 days.

A snow bike sits on a cornice near the crest of Spring Slide Mountain in the Swan Range where bikers triggered an avalanche Jan. 5, 2019.
flatheadavalanche.org

The Flathead National Forest is investigating an avalanche involving motorized snow bikes that happened on Jan. 5. The bikers may have been in an area closed to over-snow vehicles.

Keith Hammer is the chair of the Swan View Coalition in the Flathead Valley. Hammer heard about the avalanche on Spring Slide Mountain and recognized the area.

Mid-Swan Project area and vicinity map.
USDA Forest Service

The Flathead National Forest is pitching a new project in northwestern Montana’s Swan Valley that it says would benefit forests, streams and human communities.

And it’s a big project, says Flathead National Forest Supervisor Chip Weber.

A record number of grizzly bears are being killed by cars as they roam the roads in and around Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana. At the same time, they're causing an unprecedented amount of damage to crops and livestock.

Nicky Ouellet

Representative Greg Gianforte toured areas affected by the Howe Ridge Fire in Glacier National Park Wednesday morning.

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