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Kootenai National Forest Releases DRAFT Forest Plan

  On January 3, after over 5 years in the making, the Kootenai National Forest has released its Draft Revised Forest Plan and associated Draft Impact Environmental Statement.  It's a massive document, but not unapproachable.  We ask that you commit some time to familiarize yourself with the essentials, attend an open house, and comment.

You can access all documents on-line here.
The proposed Draft Plan offers a historic opportunity to protect the remaining roadless lands on the Kootenai Forest by including "recommended wilderness" and non-motorized "backcountry" designations.
The Ten Lakes Wilderness Study Area and adjoining landscapes are of particular concern to Headwaters Montana.
Please participate!
The Kootenai National Forest (KNF) has needed to revise its 1987 management plan.  The KNF has done extensive outreach to the public including some collaborative work with various stakeholders, including Headwaters Montana.  The resulting plan features 3 alternatives and one 'no-action' alternative. 
The KNF's "preferred alternative" is Alternative B.  See the first map (to left) that illustrates this alternative.  This alternative falls far short of meeting essential conservation objectives.
Headwaters Montana prefers Alternative C - as a starting point for adjusting the Draft Plan.  See second map (to left) that illustrates this alternative.
These maps provide the best summary of the proposed plan and the basis for recommending changes.
The Draft Forest Plan creates 11 new management areas (MAs) to replace the 24 currently found in the 1987 Plan.
The Draft Plan recommends an additional 36,300 acres for wilderness designation - but many worthy wilderness lands are omitted. It recommends Scotchman Peaks as a congressionally designated wilderness area and recommends additions to the existing Cabinet Mountain Wilderness (totaling 65,800 acres). The Draft Plan also recommends two new potential wilderness areas: Roderick and Whitefish Divide (totaling 47,000 acres).
Significantly, the Draft Plan does not recommend the Ten Lakes contiguous area, as found in the 1987 Plan.
The KNF proposes - in Alternative B - to harvest 47.5 million board feet annually, down from the 1987 Plan "Allowable Sales Quantity" of 150 million board feet annually.  This lower target reflects federal budget constraints.
The formal public comment period ends April 5 Headwaters Montana has requested a 45-day extension because of the size and complexity of the Draft Plan.
What You Can Do
The KNF must hear from hundreds of Wilderness and Roadless Lands supporters in order to be convinced of the public demand for greater protection than proposed in their preferred alternative (B).  Please consider participating by:
  1. Familiarize yourself with Alternatives B and C (using the maps as a guide);
  2. Attend a public meeting (see the meeting schedule here); and
  3. Write a first letter today and ask:
  • that Alternative C be used as the preferred alternative, and
  • for a 45-day extension on the comment period so that you have the time to study the Draft Plan.
Email the KNF here.
Headwaters Montana will report back to you on further developments and comment opportunities as they arise. We will also send you additional specific comment suggestions that will improve roadless, wilderness, wildlife and water protection for the KNF.
~Thank you for participating
in protecting
the Kootenai National Forest! ~