Larry Wilson: Group meets on Flathead National Forest Plan

Larry reports on a recent meeting of folks interested in the upcoming revision of the Flathead Forest Plan . . .

Updating the Flathead National Forest Plan is almost as much of a controversy as what to do with the North Fork Road. Same thing with the passage of a Montana wilderness bill.

Apparently the Forest Service is going to try again to create a new, updated Forest Plan. According to Flathead Forest supervisor Chip Weber, the Forest is taking preliminary steps, and the process will probably gear up for action in mid-2013.

At least three environmental groups with a big interest in the Whitefish Range have decided to put together a diverse collaborative group to try and influence what happens in the Whitefish Range. The group includes North Fork residents — all three presidents of North Fork organizations plus a few others, Whitefish Mountain Resort representatives, logging interests and a couple of recreationists. Also present for the first meeting were two representatives from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. The Kootenai people have strong historical ties to the upper North Fork.

After a two-hour meeting moderated by former Montana Secretary of State Bob Brown, the group decided it was worth meeting again to explore reaching some agreement that would aid the Forest in writing a new plan.

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