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Win a $50 RMO Gift Certificate - Comment on the Flathead Forest Plan Revision

  April 10, 2015.  The Flathead National Forest needs to hear from wilderness and wildlife advocates like you!  The Forest will take public comment on its proposed forest management plan through May 5, 2015.  Please take time now to send a comment.  Use the links on this page to send your comment and we will automatically enter you into a drawing for one of three $50 RMO gift certificates.  We cannot emphasize enough the importance of your comment at this point in time.

RMO has donate three $50 gift certificates to reward your comment to the Flathead National Forsest.

  Get the gear you want for summer hiking and camping!

Background

The Flathead National Forest (FNF) is required to revise its current forest management plan that dates back to 1987.  The new plan needs to reflect the realities of today and what can be reasonably predicted about the future.

Headwaters Montana has identifies several key concerns.  Please use the following points in your comment to the FNF plan revision team.

Send your comment via this link.  Or address your comment letter to: Flathead National Forest, 650 Wolfpack Way, Kalispell, MT 59911

Our recommendations

1.  Recommend additional wilderness areas.  Thank the FNF for recommending the Whitefish Range wilderness and additions to the Bob Marshal, Great Bear, and Mission Mountain wildernesses.  However, the FNF fell short in several key areas.  Ask the FNF to:

·      Recommend all of Bunker Creek and upper Sullivan Creek as wilderness.   Bunker-Sullivan area is vital habitat for grizzly, mountain goats, elks, and other critters.  The Bunker-Sullivan area is high in wilderness character, remote and little visited, and provides essential habitat connectivity between the Bob Marshall Wilderness, the Jewel Basin and habitat to the north.

·      Bring the Jewel Basin wilderness boundary down to the Flathead Valley floor.  This area is wild, not used by snowmobilers, provides excellent wildlife habitat, and forms part of the scenic backdrop for the Flathead Valley.

2.  Recommend more Wild and Scenic River sections.  Doing so complements good ecological management.  Ask the FNF to recommend Sullivan and Quintonkon creeks as “eligible” for Wild and Scenic designation.  Only Congress can designate Wild and Scenic Rivers, but the FS can – and should – recommend the best creeks and rivers across the Forest for this level of protection.  Sullivan and Quintonkon creeks provide critical habitat for the endangered bull trout.

3.  Block up the Backcountry areas.  This will provide better habitat security and reduce road maintenance costs.  The proposed plan would retain many miles of old, unused and unmaintained roads.  These roads can fail drastically in spring run-off and rain events and cause costly environmental damage to fish habitat and water quality.  Many of these roads ‘cherry stem’ back into blocks of Backcountry reducing the habitat security for many species of wildlife.  Ask the FNF to decommission the following roads.  In the Swan Mountains decommission Posey Ball, Branch, Connor, upper Quintokon roads.  Doing so will represent a huge gain for wildlife.

4.  Motorcycles do not belong in the subalpine.  The FNF proposed plan would continue to allow motorcycle use of the Alpine 7 trail across the top of the Swan Mountains.  As the Flathead Valley human population grows so will motorized recreation.  Motorcycles already hasten the erosion of backcountry trails that were designed and built in the 1930’s for foot and horse use.  They cut across wet meadows and tear up sensitive places.  The northern Swan Range (from the Bob Marshall Wilderness to Columbia Mountain) provides some of the best grizzly habitat anywhere, as well as a wildlife corridor to the Whitefish Range.  Phase out motorcycle use on Alpine Trail 7 and the feeder trails that lead up from lower elevations. 

You can read the full Proposed Action here.  Please feel free to call the Headwaters Montana office for questions or concerns about the FNF forest plan revision process.

Cheers and thanks for taking time to participate in this really critical process.

   Dave Hadden, Executive Director  406-837-0783, info@headwatersmontana.org