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Flathead National Forest proposes logging to collect larch cones

Here’s an obscure forest management issue . . .

Larch tree cones grow near the top of very tall trees, which makes them tough to collect for anything other than squirrels.

The Flathead National Forest needs a lot of larch cones for its reseeding efforts, and it’s seeking public comment on how best to get them. The trees have brittle branches and bark that flakes off easily, making them difficult for humans to climb. Another alternative is shooting cone-bearing branches off the tree. “That’s apparently not one we’re interested in,” Flathead Forest spokesman Wade Muelhof said. The cones aren’t much bigger than grapes, and lots of them get lost as the branches fall to the ground.

So the preferred alternative involves cutting down about 270 trees over 10 years to supply seedling needs.

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