Montana Public Radio

U.S. Forest Service

Kootenai National Forest sign.
Josh Burnham

The Kootenai National Forest is slated to start five salvage timber sales in areas that burned last year, and one more is pending.

U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen vows the agency will meet with mountain biking groups who want to regain access to two wilderness study areas in the Bitterroot National Forest.
(PD)

A judge has ordered Bitterroot National Forest officials to allow public comment on whether two Wilderness Study Areas should be re-opened to bicycle use.

At least a half-dozen groups, including the Bitterroot Backcountry Cyclists, have sued for increased access to the Blue Joint and Sapphire Wilderness Study Areas.


The U.S. Forest Service is investigating what it is describing as the unauthorized release of employees’ personal information, including Social Security numbers. Most of the agency's 34,000 workers are affected.

Congressman Greg Gianforte speaking at the Road Access Hearing in Washington, D.C.
House Oversight Committee

Montana Representative Greg Gianforte is trying to win support in Congress for more roadbuilding on public lands. Conservationists say he’s trying to turn back the clock to policies that proved unsustainable.

On Tuesday, Gianforte chaired a House subcommittee hearing focused on road closures and access on U.S. Forest Service lands.

Forest Service Proposes Changes To Sage Grouse Protections

Jun 20, 2018
Sage grouse.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest Region (PD)

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service proposed changes Wednesday to sage grouse protections in six Western states that call for eliminating special designations for crucial habitat as well as keeping areas open for mining.

The agency also said restrictions on water development for livestock will be removed as will other requirements that could limit some livestock grazing.

Grizzly Bear Committee Delays Vote On NCDE Conservation Strategy
IGBC

Wildlife managers are laying the groundwork to remove federal Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears in and around the Continental Divide in northwest Montana later this year.

On Tuesday, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee’s executive committee was expected to vote on a so-called Conservation Strategy. But the vote was delayed to give members more time to consider public comments.

View Of The North Fork of The Flathead River Near Ford Cabin.
Flathead National Forest

During a planning meeting in Columbia Falls Wednesday, people who live near the Flathead River said they’re concerned about climate change, user impacts and nearby railroad activity,

Two federal agencies are tasked with updating management of the Flathead’s three forks under the Wild and Scenic River Act: The U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service. They say that despite the river’s unusually high water quality, threats remain.

Flathead National Forest

The Flathead National Forest has approved 2,600 acres of commercial logging just north of Hungry Horse reservoir.

It's part of the Hungry Lion Resource Management Project, and the Forest Service says about half of the timber sale is within the wildland-urban interface, with the goal of reducing risks to residents and firefighters should a wildfire occur.

Rafters on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River.
Glacier National Park (PD)

The Flathead National Forest and Glacier National Park are preparing a new comprehensive management plan for the three forks of the Flathead River, and they want the public’s input. That’s according to an announcement today from the U.S. Forest Service.

Congressman Greg Gianforte addresses a Montana Association of Counties meeting in Missoula Tuesday, May 1, 2018.
Eric Whitney / Montana Public Radio

Congressman Greg Gianforte says some changes to public lands management he’s been pushing for have made it into the draft of the Farm Bill Congress is expected to take up in couple of weeks.

The Farm Bill helps direct the U.S. Forest Service, which is part of the Department of Agriculture.

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