– The Swan Lake Ranger District of the Flathead National Forest is requesting input on the proposed Mid Swan Landscape Restoration & Wildland Urban Fuels Reduction Project. The project is located in the Swan Valley, south of Swan Lake stretching down to the community of Condon and proposes treating approximately 70,000 acres within this 246,000 acre landscape.
The Mid-Swan Project assessment was developed in collaboration with the Southwestern Crown Collaborative (SWCC) in response to a desire to manage terrestrial and aquatic pattern and process functions across an entire landscape instead of the typical individual watershed analysis areas. Additionally, following many severe fire seasons in Montana, the need for fuels reduction in the wildland urban interface (WUI) was also identified. Efficiencies in the planning process are also expected with this project.
“The Southwest Crown Collaborative, which has long-promoted a landscape-level approach to conservation, applauds the Forest Service for both its transparency and its willingness to take on critical restoration activities in the mid-Swan. With the release of this proposed action we encourage our fellow citizens to engage with agency staff to craft this project to meet the diverse range of interests of all of us that cherish this landscape,” stated Jim Burchfield, co-chair of the Southwestern Crown Collaborative.
Through the assessment process the need to restore and maintain aquatic biodiversity and terrestrial biodiversity in light of climate change and reduce the risk from fire in the wildland urban interface, were identified.
“I am excited to bring this project forward on the Forest and look forward to hearing from our community, forest user groups and the public at large,” stated Chip Weber, Flathead National Forest Supervisor. “These public lands belong to all of you and it is important that your interests are represented as we move to restore this landscape and protect key values at risk in the Wildland Urban Interface.”
The scoping document is available for comment and a public meeting will be held on November 8 at the Swan Valley Community Hall located in Condon, MT from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. Comments on the project are requested by November 21, 2018, so that input may be included in the analysis. Further information regarding the project can be found on the Forest projects webpage located at
http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/flathead/landmanagement/projects. All documents created for public input will be available on this page including instructions on how to comment. For additional information concerning this project contact Swan Lake District Ranger Chris Dowling, Swan Lake Ranger District, 200 Ranger Station Road, Bigfork, MT; 406-837-7501 or Sandy Mack, Team Leader, Regional Office, 24 Fort Missoula Rd., Missoula, MT; 406-329-3817.