Comments sought on Dayton Project proposed action
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: June 14, 2021

Kalispell, MT June 14, 2021— Chris Dowling, Swan Lake District Ranger, and his staff, invite the public to provide feedback on the proposed Dayton project as it moves to the next phase of the planning process. The project area is approximately 8,000 acres and is generally located west of the town of Lakeside, north of Lake Mary Ronan, and south of Blacktail Mountain ski area. Ownership within the project area is entirely on National Forest System (NFS) land and all proposed activities would occur on National Forest System land.

Specifically, the district is proposing regeneration and intermediate treatments on approximately 1,227 acres to reduce the number trees infected with Armillaria root disease, fir engraver, Douglas-fir beetle, and various dwarf mistletoe outbreaks. The project would also construct approximately 1.8 miles of temporary road. The proposed commercial harvest units would also have post-harvest treatments designed to reduce forest fuels, to prepare the site for regeneration, or both. Additionally, reforestation activities would occur in units proposed for regeneration harvest and would utilize a combination of natural seeding and planted tree seedlings.

The project area exists in a Section 602 Designated Landscape, is within Condition Class 2 in Fire Regime Group III, and a portion also exists within the wildland urban interface (WUI) as designated by the 2020 Flathead County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). Flathead County defines the WUI as: “The Wildland Urban Interface is any location where a fire can readily spread from vegetation (wildland fuels) to manmade structures (urban fuels). This is generally measured geographically as a 1.5-mile zone around areas with structures (e.g. homes, businesses, and outbuildings); public works facilities (e.g. drinking water and sewer); and critical infrastructure (e.g. power lines, gas lines, pipelines, bridges, railways, emergency communication sites, and watersheds).”

Lakeside, Montana is listed as a community at risk in the January 4, 2001 Federal Register notice and called out in the CWPP as being in an area of higher fire risk targeted for continued treatments. As such, based on a preliminary assessment, intentions are to categorically exclude the proposed project from documentation in an environmental impact statement or an environmental assessment under Section 603 of the Healthy Forest Restoration Act (16 U.S.C. 6591b; 2018 amendment).

Additional information and maps for the project can be found at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=59952The public should submit comments by July 9, 2021 to comments-northern-flathead-swan-lake@usda.govFor questions, please contact project leader Kyle Stetler, at kyle.stetler@usda.gov (preferred method) or 406-837-7521.