Swan Lake Rangers Seek Comment on Pine Beetle Project

By Beacon Staff

The Swan Lake Ranger District of the Flathead National Forest is seeking public comment on its environmental assessment in response to mountain pine beetle activity. In order to salvage trees affected by the beetles located on National Forest lands 10 miles south of Condon, the district is proposing the Summit Mountain Pine Beetle Salvage Project. Part of the project calls for activity on 1,300 acres.

Field surveys conducted in 2008 identified pine beetle activity in areas with a high percentage of lodgepole that were dead or dying. Swan Lake District Ranger Steve Brady said in a press release the beetle is a significant forest health concern, and it is difficult to stop a large-scale pine beetle outbreak, though timely harvest can mitigate the effects.

Proposed activities include harvesting beetle-affected trees using tractor logging systems during the winter season and treating slash piles with chipping and burning. Access to the affected areas would include use of existing roads and some temporary road construction.

Public comments are encouraged by Sept. 4. For more information, contact Project Leader Joleen Dunham at 837-7510 or visit www.fs.fed.us/r1/flathead and click on “Projects & plans” on the left side of the page, then “Projects”.

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