Montana Public Radio

U.S. Forest Service

Solenex well site is the last remaining oil lease in Badger-Two-Medicine.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

The Blackfeet Nation released draft legislation Thursday that would permanently protect the Badger-Two Medicine region bordering Glacier National Park from industrial resource development. Montana’s congressional delegation says they are reviewing the draft language of the proposed bill.

USDA Sec. Sonny Perdue (center) in Missoula to announce new USFS priorities June 12, 2020. Behind him: Chuck Roady, GM of F.H. Stoltze, Rep. Gianforte, USDA Undersecretary James Hubbard, Ravalli County Commissioner Greg Chilcott, RMEF Pres. Kyle Weaver
Edward O'Brien / Montana Public Radio

*UPDATED 06/13 

The U.S. Agriculture Secretary visited Missoula Friday to announce a blueprint to prioritize work for the U.S Forest Service.

Supporters say it will modernize the agency and cut unnecessary red tape. Opponents, however, counter it will undermine the nation’s laws aimed at protecting the environment.

ATVs on a muddy road. Stock photo.
iStock.

The U.S. Forest Service Tuesday withdrew its appeal of a 2019 court ruling ordering it to examine ineffective closures of temporary logging roads in grizzly bear habitat. The federal agency will continue studying the issue.

BLM firefighters stand near their firetruck as smoke rises up in the background.
BLM (CC-BY-2.0)

Fire potential in Western Montana this summer is predicted to be above normal, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

“The wild card, of course, is COVID and how we’ll deal with response,” said Bryan Henry, a NIFC meteorologist, in a June 1 podcast.

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

The Flathead National Forest is proposing a fuels-reduction project in the northwest area of the Flathead Valley. The project includes commercial logging and road building.

 

Montanans who’ve been stuck in the house due to the coronavirus pandemic are finally getting some fresh air on the state’s campsites. That’s led to some unusually high visitor rates in some areas, while in others, campers are getting to know corners of the state they might not have otherwise thought to go.

Montana Conservation Corps workers
Montana Conservation Corps

Every summer, conservation crews cut a dent into the billion-dollar backlog of labor on public land in Montana. But the novel coronavirus means uncertainty and less work for the battalion of young adults working on trails and forests across the state.

PD

The U.S. Forest Service is allowing loggers more time to meet their contracts in national forests due to the novel coronavirus, according to a notice published in the federal register Wednesday.

The move is meant to lend a helping hand to the timber industry as operations shut down across the country, the notice says.

Big Larch Campground on the Lolo National Forest.
Lolo National Forest

National forests in Montana are shutting down developed recreation sites in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Visitors can still recreate on most those federal lands, but should not expect any amenities.

Whitefish Mountain Hellroaring Basin project.
U.S. Forest Service

Whitefish Mountain Resort will begin work this spring to add an additional ski lift and several new runs in the Hellroaring Basin area. The U.S. Forest Service approved the project Wednesday.

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