The Flathead National Forest is beginning the process of bringing its travel plan into alignment with the overall 2018 forest plan . . .
The Flathead National Forest has released a two-pronged proposed action that looks to update where snowmobiles and other over the snow motorized vehicles can run in the future, as well as mechanized uses like bicycles and game carts.
The changes come under the 2018 Forest plan, as it has about 190,400 acres of recommended wilderness. Under the plan, some trails could be closed that were once open to mechanical uses like bicycles, because the trails are now in recommended wilderness.
The bulk of those trails — about 82 miles, are in the Tuchuk-Whale Creek areas of the North Fork.
“Specifically, within the 190,403 acres of recommended wilderness areas, about 96 miles of trail currently allow mechanized transport and about 383 acres currently allow over-snow motorized use. There are no open motorized trails or roads or designated over-snow motorized travel routes in these recommended wilderness areas,” the proposed action notes.
Dave Hadden of Headwaters Montana passed this along the other day. Conservation organizations concerned about the Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle National Forests chalked up a win last Thursday in their fight to protect recommended wilderness areas in the two forests . . .
Missoula, MT – A federal judge today upheld important protections for some of the last unspoiled areas of the Kootenai National Forest in northwest Montana and the Idaho Panhandle National Forests in northern Idaho.
In a decision issued this morning, U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen rejected a challenge by snowmobilers that sought to overturn the U.S. Forest Service’s wilderness recommendations for areas including the Scotchman Peaks and Roderick Mountain in Montana and the Mallard Larkins and Selkirk Range in Idaho. The judge ruled that the Forest Service has broad authority to manage recommend wilderness areas to preserve their wilderness values, including through limiting motorized and mechanized use in these wild and remote areas.
The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by the Ten Lakes Snowmobile Club and other off-road vehicle groups in November 2015 that asked the court to open the protected areas to motorized use.
The recommended wilderness areas at issue represent some of the last wild areas in the otherwise heavily roaded Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle forests. These areas provide important habitat for mountain goats, grizzly bears, Canada lynx, wolverines, and a wide variety of other species, including the only remaining population of woodland caribou in the continental United States. And they provide an opportunity for hiking, horse packing, snowshoeing, and backcountry skiing in a wild setting. Continue reading Court upholds protections for recommended wilderness in Northwest Montana and Northern Idaho→
As we mentioned a week back, several area conservation organizations joined together to intervene in the lawsuit challenging the inclusion of recommended wilderness areas in the Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle National Forests . . .
A coalition of conservationists has asked to intervene in a lawsuit filed by snowmobilers challenging wilderness provisions in the Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle national forest plans.
The Ten Lakes Snowmobile Club, Citizens for Balanced Use and five other interest groups sued the U.S. Forest Service in November, accusing the agency of improperly excluding snowmobile use from the forest’s recommended wilderness areas and improperly recommending new waterways for the national Wild and Scenic River Act designation.
On Jan. 25, The Wilderness Society, Headwaters Montana, Idaho Conservation League, Montana Wilderness Association, Panhandle Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Club and Winter Wildlands Alliance formally asked to intervene in the case.