Ashland, MT… The Forest Service is transferring the jurisdiction and administration of the Fort Howes Administrative Site (formerly the Fort Howes Ranger Station) to the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM is assuming management of the site and several existing facilities including three bunkhouses, two residences, a chlorination building and the helicopter hanger.
A contract has been awarded to decommission the remaining buildings (garage/shop, office, and residence), along with the supporting infrastructure. The decommissioning work is anticipated to begin immediately. The biggest changes the public are likely to see is the removal of some of the buildings and the water spigot that some people were using for personal use. The water cannot be secured, it is not tested to ensure it is safe for public use/consumption, and the agencies do not hold a water right that includes public use. The water right that is held is for industrial use for the Fort Howes facility only so the high volume water fill up facility for filling wildland fire suppression equipment will remain.
“In 2012 the Forest Service determined the administrative site was excess to the agency’s needs,” said Ron Hecker, Ashland District Ranger. “The original structures were constructed at different times beginning in the 1930s and were repaired over the years but have reached the end of their useful life.”