Tag Archives: forest planning

Another lawsuit challenges Flathead Forest plan

Flathead National Forest
Flathead National Forest

As promised, Friends of the Wild Swan and the Swan View Coalition have filed suit against the new Flathead Forest Plan . . .

Two environmental groups have filed suit against the Forest Service and other federal agencies claiming the new Flathead National Forest plan doesn’t do enough to protect grizzly bears and bull trout.

The suit, filed by Friends of the Wild Swan and the Swan View Coalition, claims road rules under the new plan reverse a decades-old policy that closed roads in the 2.4 million-acre Forest.

The suit was filed by Earthjustice on behalf of the two groups.

Read more . . .

Groups intend to sue Flathead over forest plan

Bull Trout
Bull Trout

As expected, the new Flathead Forest Plan is drawing fire from some groups. An article by Chris Peterson of the Hungry Horse News does a good job of explaining the background and events leading up to a pending lawsuit . . .

Two environmental groups announced Monday that they have filed a 60-day notice of an intent to file a lawsuit against the Flathead National Forest over its new Forest plan, claiming it violates the Endangered Species Act.

The notice of intent does not come as a surprise — the two groups have previously maintained that new plan doesn’t do enough to secure grizzly bear and bull trout habitat.

They claim the new plan, just days old, is worse than the old 1986 plan because it no longer adheres to a provision in the old plan called Amendment 19. Under Amendment 19 of the previous plan, open road densities across the forest were trimmed substantially. Roads, quite literally, were purposely destroyed by the Forest Service, making them impassable to motorized use.

Read more . . .

Proposed Flathead Forest plan receives 20,000+ comments

The proposed Flathead National Forest Plan got lots of comments — better than 20,000. Here’s the official press release on the subject . . .

The Flathead National Forest received more than 20,000 comments on its proposal for revising its land and resource management plan (forest plan). Comments on the proposal to amend the Helena, Kootenai, Lewis and Clark, and Lolo National Forest plans to integrate the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem Grizzly Bear Conservation Strategy were also sought during the 70 day comment period that ended May 15.

The Flathead National Forest is preparing a single environmental impact statement for both the revised forest plan and the grizzly bear amendments.

Forest Supervisor Chip Weber commented that, “The public response has been excellent; we received a lot of constructive comments that we are giving serious consideration to in order to improve our initial proposal as well as to develop some alternatives that will be able to display the range of issues expressed throughout the comment period.”

The majority of the comments received were form letters or petitions that were either identical in content or substantially similar. Approximately 370 unique comments came from individuals or commercial interests. Seven letters were from public agencies and approximately 30 letters came from non-profit organizations.

“The Flathead National Forest plan revision team has reviewed all the comments,” said Weber. “Four significant issues were identified and will be used to frame alternatives for the revised forest plan.” They are:

  1. Vegetation management, timber production, and fire;
  2. Habitat for wildlife and fish;
  3. Access and recreation; and
  4. Recommended wilderness

The planning team will be using these issues and public comments to refine the proposed action and build alternatives. Once the analysis is completed, a draft environmental impact statement will be issued. The Forest Service plans to have this document available by January 2016. Once the draft environmental impact statement is issued there will be a 90-day comment period.

The Flathead National Forest plan revision website provides additional information about the forest plan revision planning process, including links to the proposed action for the revised forest plan located at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/flathead/fpr. The amendment component of the proposed action can be found at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/flathead/gbamend. Links to a reading room containing all comments, the 2012 planning rule and, the draft NCDE Grizzly Bear Conservation Strategy can be found on these websites as well.

For further information about the project, contact Joe Krueger, Forest Planner, Flathead National Forest, 650 Wolfpack Way, Kalispell, Montana 59901, (406) 758-5243, or at flatheadplanrevision@fs.fed.us.

See also: “Forest Plan Comments Focus on Timber Production, Wildlife Habitat” (Flathead Beacon)

Carol Edwards: A personal letter to Flathead planners

A very timely missive from Carol “Kelly” Edwards, a longtime NFPA member . . .

To the Flathead Forest and Watershed Planners,

My plea, as a local resident and land owner in the Flathead watershed area is that you protect, increase, and  safeguard wilderness within your management area.  By wilderness, I mean strongly regulated, pristine wilderness. Walk in only. At your own risk. No motors. No machines. No logging. No mining. No drilling.  Just the creatures that live there naturally, in the forests that grow there, with water sources running free and clean, accessible only to those who are willing to enter those places on those terms.

Over the last 200+ years on this continent we have taken everything we could get from the natural world in trade for economic growth.  Well, as the song goes… “…This is the end, my friend.”  At this point it is either work to save the little bit of it that remains, or just dig it up, chop it down, pollute the rest of it.

Somewhere along the way we have to open our eyes, look around and realize that we’re in trouble if we continue the way we’ve done before. Sustainable is not just a nonsense word that radicals throw around.  It means something that can be continued……like life on earth, for example.

I think we’d all like that, and it’s time that people in your position, with your responsibility to the environment, helped us out in that direction.

Carol Edwards
10641 North Fork Rd.
Polebridge, MT 59928

Flathead Forest hosting open house sessions on vegetation modeling use in forest planning

The Flathead National Forest is offering a couple of open house sessions on their vegetation modeling process. This is one of the tools they use as part of their forest management and planning process . . .

The Flathead National Forest is hosting two open house sessions in August on the topic of Use of Vegetation Modeling in Forest Planning. The first open house will be on Tuesday, August 12, 6:30 to 8:00 PM at the Flathead National Forest Supervisor’s Office, 650 Wolfpack Way, Kalispell, Montana. The same material will be presented the following evening, Wednesday, August 13, 6:30 to 8:00 PM at the Swan Ecosystem Center in Condon.

Members of the forest plan revision team, including the silviculturist, wildlife biologist, and Regional analyst will provide information, present some preliminary outputs, and answer questions about the computer-based analytical modeling processes being used to evaluate vegetation conditions across the forest over time as it responds to various disturbances, such as fire or harvest.

Read more . . .