Spotted Bear project seeks public comment
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: November 10, 2021

Kalispell, MT, November 10, 2021 – The Flathead National Forest, Spotted Bear District announces the beginning of a new project within the South Fork Flathead River watershed, approximately 40 miles southwest of Hungry Horse, MT. The project, called Spotted Bear Mountain, would address wildland-urban interface fuel loading, diversify plant and tree communities, and provide a mix of forest products for local economies.

The project proposes approximately 757 acres of commercial timber harvest and 293 acres of noncommercial treatments including thinning and burning. Approximately 2.7 miles of roads would be constructed and added to the Forest road system to accomplish project activities. In addition, 0.6 miles of temporary roads would be constructed and then rehabilitated after log hauling is complete. Public motorized access would not change.

“We are eager to hear from the public as we continue to develop this project, your input will help us refine our proposed action,” said Spotted Bear District Ranger Scott Snelson.

The District wants to manage the forest to be resistant to disturbances such as insects, disease, and fire. To achieve this, the desire is for the forest to have a diversity of species and tree sizes. For this project, the proposed work would decrease the dominance of Douglas-fir and increase the presence of aspen and fire-tolerant species such as ponderosa pine and western larch. Throughout the project area, Douglas-fir trees are dying from root disease and Douglas-fir beetle. “This project will help our large trees, particularly our large ponderosa pines, thrive into the future,” Snelson continued.

Another goal of the of this project is to reduce existing wildland fuels. By reducing forest fuels, expected fire behavior is reduced. “The proposed treatments are especially important in the northern project area which is close to guest ranches and the Spotted Bear Ranger District buildings,” said Snelson.

The public can find maps, other project information, and instructions for how to provide comment on the project website. For questions, please contact project leader Gary Blazejewski at gary.blazejewski@usda.gov or (406) 387-3827.