Kalispell, MT — The Flathead National Forest announced today that the Salish Good project has moved to the next phase of its planning process with the release of the draft decision notice.
The draft decision would allow a commercial timber harvest on approximately 6,000 acres. The commercial harvest would provide timber for local mills and reduce forest fuels. An additional 3,000 acres not under commercial contract would also be treated to reduce forest fuels. The Forest would build three miles of temporary and 35 miles of permanent administrative road, some of which would be open to non-motorized public recreation uses when not in use for log hauling purposes. The permanent roads would be used for future timber projects in the area. Dozens of culverts would be approved for replacement, removal, or improvement. Those activities would reduce sediment to benefit water quality and aquatic habitat. The project area is located 20 miles north of Whitefish, MT in the Tally Lake Ranger District.
The Forest received nine comments during a public input period that closed on April 19, 2020. Most were from neighboring landowners who expressed appreciation for hazardous fuels reduction, had questions about hydrologic effects, and wanted the Forest to be mindful of viewshed impacts to their properties. The remainder were from advocacy groups and state agencies. Some of those comments identified concerns about impacts to wildlife and water quality, while others requested additional timber harvest opportunities and more hazardous fuel reduction.
This week, the project enters an objection period, which is required by U.S. Forest Service regulation. The 45-day administrative review period allows people who have previously submitted timely, specific, written comments during any designated opportunity for public comment to file an objection to the draft decision. More information about the project can be found on the Forest’s website.