Montana Public Radio

U.S. Forest Service


A report released last month from the U.S. Government Accountability Office found a majority of land purchased by the U.S. Forest Service using Land and Water Conservation funds was in the west, which goes against LWCF guidelines.

This map shows the southern portion of the proposed action for the Frozen Moose Project in the Flathead National Forest.
Flathead National Forest

The Flathead National Forest announced a large project Wednesday that proposes commercial logging in areas usually protected from that activity. Officials say it aims to reduce wildfire risk to private homes near the North Fork of the Flathead River.

Grizzly bear track.
Jim Peaco (PD) / National Park Service

A legal battle over whether temporary logging roads in grizzly bear habitat are effectively being closed may put a damper on logging projects in three national forests. The case may be headed for an appeal.

Map of the Hellroaring basin project at Whitefish Mountain.
U.S. Forest Service

Whitefish Mountain Resort is planning on adding another ski lift and additional runs to a portion of the mountain next year. The Flathead National Forest issued a draft decision Monday that found the project had no significant impacts to the Hellroaring Basin.

Resource conservation student Jared Smith (left) builds a beaver dam analog on Fish Creek in western Montana, along with another undergraduate and Ph.D. ecology student Andrew Lahr (right), Oct. 19, 2019.
Kevin Trevellyan / Montana Public Radio

University of Montana ecologists are researching human-made beaver dams as a potential habitat restoration tool. Early case studies show the dams could dull the impacts of climate change seen in rivers and streams. The U.S. Forest Service is looking to use the simple structures on new sites in the state, but first, officials want to better understand the science behind simulated rodent engineering.

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.

Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte and U.S. Agriculture Undersecretary Jim Hubbard hold a forest management roundtable at  the U.S. Forest Service’s Aerial Fire Depot and Smokejumper Center in Missoula, Nov. 7, 2019.
Edward O'Brien / Montana Public Radio

Montana U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte and U.S. Agriculture Department Undersecretary Jim Hubbard spearheaded a roundtable this week in Missoula focused on forest and wildland fire policy.

Gianforte called for greater collaboration among stakeholders. Some stakeholders, however, were noticeably absent from the event.

Truck carrying timber
Bell & Jeff (CC-BY-2.0)

The state and the U.S. Forest Service plan to ramp up a program on Montana’s national forests that uses timber sales with restoration components to fund non-commercial conservation work. The amount of timber currently being cut under the program could grow four times over the next year. The timber industry sees that as a much-needed boon.

Bison in Yellowstone National Park
YellowstoneNPS-flickr (CC-BY-2.0)

A lawsuit filed in federal court Monday is challenging a long-contested bison hunt near Yellowstone National Park.

A group of Gardiner residents says the annual winter bison hunt just north of the park is unsafe for property owners, hunters, and tourists.

Map of the Pacific Northwest National Scenic trail.
National Park Service (PD)

The controversy over the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail’s (PNT) route through grizzly bear habitat in the Yaak Valley is headed to court. The Yaak Valley Forest Council filed the lawsuit Friday claiming that the U.S. Forest Service failed to evaluate the impacts of the trail on grizzly populations.

The roughly 1,200-mile Pacific Northwest Trail, not to be confused with the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, would wind from Glacier National Park to the coast of Washington State.

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