Grizzly bears are getting better guarantees of safe passage through state lands in the Whitefish Range . . .
The state Land Board on Monday approved a proposed lawsuit settlement between Montana and three conservation groups that would protect grizzly bears while still allowing logging in two state forests west of Glacier National Park.
The settlement would create restrictions designed to minimize disturbances to grizzly bears in seven “security zones” totaling 34 square miles within the Stillwater and Coal Creek state forests.
If a federal judge approves the settlement, six timber projects that have been on hold for a year will be allowed to go forward, said Sonya Germann, forest management bureau chief for the state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Forest’s trust land management division.
The timber sale in the Coal Creek State Forest has started the bid process . . .
A proposed state timber sale in the North Fork near Winona Ridge will go out for bid this spring, according to Stillwater State Forest unit manager Brian Manning.
The Moran Cyclone Timber Sale calls for harvesting up to 6 million board feet of timber from 2,901 acres on the Coal Creek State Forest.
The sale would make about $1.3 million for the School of Mines, State Normal School, public buildings and Montana State University trusts.
The area is a mix of western larch, Douglas fir, lodgepole pine and subalpine fir that was logged in the 1930s, early 1980s and early 1990s. About one-third of the project area burned in the 2001 Moose Fire.
From the Thursday, December 11, 2008 online edition of the Daily Inter Lake . . .
The Stillwater State Forest, citing considerable public opposition, has denied a request to allow helicopter skiing on parts of the Whitefish Mountain Range.
Brian Manning, manager of the Stillwater and Coal Creek state forests, said his office received 316 comments, most of them opposed to helicopter skiing.
“Their concerns mainly include the noise and effects to winter recreation; the adverse effects to various wildlife species; low-flying aircraft effects to adjacent landowners and the potential for trespass on federal lands,” Manning wrote in a letter to Triple-X Helicopter and Valhalla Adventures, two Whitefish businesses that proposed helicopter skiing operations on specific parts of the Coal Creek and Stillwater forests.
Commercially guided ski trips were proposed at Winona, Coal and Stryker ridges on the two state forests.