Forest Service signs Record of Decision for the Center Horse Project
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: July 28, 2020

SEELEY LAKE, Mont. – The Lolo National Forest Supervisor has signed the Record of Decision for
the Center Horse Project Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Center Horse project
includes restoration activities and road treatments to improve water quality, restore or enhance
fish and wildlife habitat, and conserve and improve soil resources. The project will also set the
transportation network within the project area to meet public and administrative needs.
The project area is in Missoula and Powell counties on the Seeley Lake Ranger District about 14
miles north of Ovando and includes the North Fork Cottonwood and Spring Creek drainages to
the west and the McCabe Creek drainage to the east.
The Decision authorizes the Forest to move forward with road construction, decommissioning,
reroutes, and culvert replacements within the project area to restore watershed health for
critical fish and wildlife habitat. In total, the project will result in an 8.5-mile decrease in public
roads of which only 4.5 miles are currently drivable. These actions will improve watershed
conditions that have been impacted by wildfire and past management actions by reducing
sedimentation, improving water flow for fish passage, restoring watershed function, and
improving the habitat along streams.
“We look forward to implementing these restoration treatments within the Center Horse
project area,” stated Carolyn Upton, Lolo National Forest Supervisor. “The project will set our
transportation system and provide for improved watershed health, while still maintaining key
recreational access.”
The original Center Horse Restoration project, part of the Southwest Crown Collaborative
(SWCC) and Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP), was put on hold in
2017 when the Rice Ridge Fire burned about 40,000 of the 61,300-acre project area. The Forest
stopped work on the original Center Horse Restoration project immediately after the fire and
moved forward with post-fire salvage logging in 2018.
Upon signature, the project is approved for implementation over the course of the next ten
years. For more information call the Seeley Lake Ranger Station at 406-677-2233.