Montana Public Radio

U.S. Forest Service

Fire camp sunset on the Sunrise Fire 7/24/17
InciWeb

Wildland firefighters already follow a lengthy list of safety and wardrobe rules: the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has just made it a little longer.

Custer Gallatin National Forest Plan Nearly Final

Jul 22, 2020

The Custer Gallatin National Forest recently released a plan that will guide conservation, recreation and industry decisions on more than 3 million acres for the next decade or more.

The Custer Gallatin National Forest stretches from the northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park to South Dakota. It’s home to Montana’s highest peaks, iconic wildlife and the Stillwater Complex, the only primary producer of palladium and platinum in the U.S.

Update: An earlier version of this story stated Rob Gregoire won, rather than settled the court case in 2017. YPR regrets the error.

A group of unlikely bedfellows is trying to drum up support for a plan it says will reduce conflict in the Crazy Mountains and improve access to public land in southwest Montana. The plan includes land swaps and a new trail.

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.

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