Tag Archives: forest plan

Flathead Forest Plan and grizzly bear amendments go into effect

Flathead National Forest
Flathead National Forest

The new Flathead Forest Plan, as well as the associated grizzly bear management amendments, went into effect late last year. Here, delayed by the recent government shutdown, is the official press release announcing them . . .

Flathead National Forest Releases Signed Record of Decisions for the Forest Land Management Plan and NCDE Forest Plan Amendments

Kalispell, MT., February 1, 2019 – After four years of collaborative effort and public input, the Flathead National Forest has released a Record of Decision (ROD) for the Forest’s Land Management Plan (Forest Plan) and associated final environmental impact statement (FEIS). A separate ROD was signed and released for the amendments to the Helena, Lewis and Clark, Kootenai and Lolo National Forests’ land management plans that incorporate the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem grizzly bear habitat management direction as forest plan direction (NCDE amendments).

“We greatly appreciate the commitment of interested participants who’ve provided important contributions toward the development of the land management plan through their participation in the planning process,” Forest Supervisor Chip Weber said. “We look forward to working with our partners and public in the years ahead in utilizing the vision in this land management plan to reach strategic objectives.”

The 2018 Forest Plan replaces the 1986 Plan, updating the long-term strategic vision for managing the Forest’s 2.4 million acres of lands in northwest Montana. The Forest Plan is the second in the nation to implement the Forest Service’s 2012 Land Management Planning Rule (36 CFR 219), which facilitates goals of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in promoting sound land stewardship in partnership with communities.

“We were glad to be part of a robust collaborative process that included a wide range of stakeholders willing to work hard to find space for everyone in our National Forests,” stated Paul McKenzie, the Lands & Resource Manager for F.H. Stoltze Land & Lumber Company. “We feel the collaborative proposal to the USFS was given good consideration in the Forest Planning process. Many elements of the proposal are reflected in the management plan for the North Fork Area. It just goes to show that working together produces better results than working against each other.”

Amy Robinson, Conservation Director for the Montana Wilderness Association added, “The Montana Wilderness Association thanks the Forest Service for including many of the collaborative recommendations the Whitefish Range Partnership offered regarding timber harvest, recreation, and weed management. We are particularly pleased the Forest Service is recommending 80,000 acres of new Wilderness in the northern Whitefish Range. This recommendation will help secure and enhance critical habitat for grizzly bears, lynx, and other wildlife that make this corner of Montana so unique.”

The Notice of Plan Approval was published in the Federal Register on December 27, 2018. The Forest Plan went into effect 30 days after publication and the NCDE amendments went into effect upon publication of the Notice of Plan Approval on December 27, 2018. The Notice of Plan Approval, signed ROD, Forest Plan, and FEIS are available at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/flathead/fpr. The signed ROD for the NCDE amendments, are available at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/flathead/gbamend.

Get your Forest Plan comments in now! Deadline is Oct 3!

Lake in Flathead National Forest
Lake in Flathead National Forest

Dear North Fork Preservation Association Member,

With all of the wild public lands in the North Fork, there is not one acre of designated Wilderness….yet.  This needs to change and YOU can play a significant role in this by writing a comment on the Flathead Forest Plan TODAY!

The Flathead National Forest is in the midst of its forest planning process.  Several years ago, members of NFPA participated in the Whitefish Range Partnership (WRP), a local citizen collaborative, in anticipation of the forest planning process.  The WRP represented various interests (loggers, snowmobilers, mountain bikers, backcountry horsemen, and wilderness advocates) and consensus was reached on 83,000 acres of proposed wilderness in the northern Whitefish Range.  This area includes the most spectacular peaks in the Whitefish Range: Nasukoin, Tuchuck, Hefty, Thompson-Seton, and Review.  We are hoping that the Flathead National Forest will include the northern Whitefish Range as Recommended Wilderness in their final Forest Plan and not allow any non-conforming uses in recommended wilderness.  (Recommended Wilderness is the first step in getting this area designated as Wilderness by Congress.)

A personal letter from you makes the biggest impact.  If you have hiked any of these peaks, please mention this in your letter.  If you don’t have time to write a personal letter and want the easy way, just go to www.wildmontana.org/flathead and add your name and contact information to the letter that was written by the Montana Wilderness Association.

If you write your own personalized letter, send it to:

Chip Weber
Forest Supervisor
Flathead National Forest
650 Wolfpack Way
Kalispell, MT 59901

Please include support for the following things:

For the North Fork—

  1. Recommended Wilderness in the northern Whitefish Range following the map submitted by the Whitefish Range Partnership.
  2. Manage recommended Wilderness just like designated Wilderness, prohibiting motorized use and mountain biking.

For other areas in the Flathead National Forest–

  1. Expansion of the Bob Marshall Wilderness northward in the Swan Range to protect the Bunker and upper Sullivan Creek area
  2. Protect the Greater Jewel Basin, especially the western slope of the Swan Range, in recommended Wilderness.
  3. Expansion of the Mission Mountains Wilderness to include the lower-elevations, species rich-lands adjacent to it.
  4. Manage recommended Wilderness just like designated Wilderness, prohibiting motorized use and mountain biking.

Also, please support Alternative 3 in the Environmental Impact Statement to keep core grizzly bear habitat managed at the level that it has been in the past…… whether or not the grizzly is delisted.

We have a receptive Forest administration and a good chance of getting recommended wilderness additions if there are lots of comments from citizens.  Your comment is very important!  You can make a real difference! Thanks for taking the time to do this!  The deadline is October 3, so please submit your comments today!!

 

Warm Regards,
Debo Powers, NFPA President
NFPApresident@gravel.org