According to Phil Knight of Friends of Kirk Hill, the US Forest Service plans to cut down old growth Douglas fir trees along a popular hiking trail near Bozeman. Knight has collected more than 1600 signatures on a petition opposing the logging.
“Our petition on Change.org has generated over 1600 signatures asking the Forest Service not to log on the trail above Kirk Hill Nature Trail” said Knight. “This is a very popular trail with local resident seeking a quiet hike in a beautiful, undisturbed forest. And it’s really close to Bozeman, so a lot of people use that trail.”
The Custer Gallatin National Forest plans to move forward this summer or fall with the Bozeman Municipal Watershed project, which would log hundreds of acres in Hyalite Canyon and Bozeman Creek, as well as building new roads. The Forest Service received notice on June 9 from Cottonwood Environmental Law that their environmental analysis for the project is outdated and that Cottonwood is prepared to take them to court over the logging.
According to Knight, Kirk Hill itself is not going to be logged (the area is owned by MSU) but the forested ridge immediately uphill and south of Kirk Hill is slated for a new road and a lot of logging of old growth trees. “This area has never been logged” said Knight. “The logging will fundamentally change the landscape there. You can walk up there now and see all the graffiti paint on the trees where the Forest Service has marked up the timber sale.”
Knight said his petition appeals to Custer Gallatin National Forest Supervisor Mary Erickson to stop the logging of Kirk Hill. “I sent my petition to her today and am awaiting a response. Maybe when she sees how many people oppose the logging she will think twice.”