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October 3rd Deadline for Comments to FNF

  September 15, 2016.  The Flathead National Forest (FNF) will close the comment period on its draft forest management plan on October 3, 2016.  That's less than three weeks from now.

The Flathead Forest has compiled a massive draft impact statement and draft plan.  Headwaters Montana and the Flathead - Kootenai Chapter of the Montana Wilderness Association (MWA) have worked together to distill from this what we consider the key improvements that can be made in the final plan.

The Flathead Forest will not make radical changes between the draft and final plan.  We have focused on recommending changes that will provide real benefits to fish, wildlife, and traditional quiet recreation - changes that we think the Flathead Forest can make with encouragement from the public ... YOU!

We recommend that you send a hard copy, a real letter, to the FNF.  Please click here to view our map of some of the key areas of concern.  Here are the comments points that we recommend:

  • Expand the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area northward along the Swan Range to protect Bunker and upper Sullivan Creeks. This area provides critical habitat for grizzlies, elk, and mountain goats. This is our opportunity to secure an area that citizens have advocated to be included in The Bob since the 1950s.
  • Implement the Whitefish Range Partnership Agreement.  The Partnership was initiated by Headwaters Montana and the Agreement took a full 13 months to achieve.  It's a good agreement and pulled the community together. Among other outcomes it supports the 83,000-acre Whitefish Range Wilderness.
  • Prohibit snowmobiling and mountain biking in recommended Wilderness. We think that recommended Wilderness should be managed like designated Wilderness. When motorized and mechanized uses become established, the area's Wilderness character degrades very quickly.
  • Protect and enlarge the Greater Jewel Basin area. We would like the Forest Service to recommended Wilderness for the Greater Jewel Basin, and see the Swan Range managed to support existing quiet, non-motorized uses.
  • Protect the lower elevation, species-rich lands that are adjacent to the Mission Mountains Wilderness. The FNF should recommend for Wilderness the Sunset Ridge wildlife corridor and the bull trout spawning areas of Elk, Hemlock, Piper, and Fatty creeks.
  • Provide distinct wildlife passage corridors.  These include passage across the Middle Fork of the Flathead River in the vicinity of Coram, and between the Flathead Forest and adjacent forest (the Kootenai, Lolo, Lewis and Clark, and Helena national forests).
Send your comments to the Flathead Forest at:
 
Flathead National Forest
Attn: Forest Plan Revision
650 Wolfpack Way
Kalispell, Montana 59901.

Or submit your comments using the FNF website here.

Thank you for participating in this important decision-making process.