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 state proposes to harvest some 2,600 acres of tress from the Stillwater State Forest . . .
A proposed state timber sale on the Stillwater State Forest about 25 miles north of Columbia Falls calls for harvesting up to 6 million board feet of lumber from 2,600 acres of state trust land.
The Moran Cyclone Timber Sale Project runs along the North Fork Road. The project area was historically comprised of Douglas fir and western larch but has become mixed conifer. Some stands in the area are 150 years old and are potentially old-growth.
Fire crews scrambled Monday to two new fires: one north of Whitefish and one southwest of Tally Lake.
One new wildfire is in the Stillwater State Forest at the junction of Fitzsimmons Creek and the Stillwater River…
Elsewhere, about six initial attack firefighters responded to a fire that was less than two acres southwest of Tally Lake, but it was enough of a handful for a helicopter and a 20-person crew to be called in to help…
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.