Flathead National Forest Supervisor Chip Weber has decided to implement commercial harvesting on nearly 6,000 acres of forest land as part of the the Wild Cramer Forest Health and Fuels Reduction Project.
The U.S. Forest Service announced the decision on June 27. Project activities will occur on the Swan Lake Ranger District of the Flathead National Forest, within the Island Unit, an aggregation of National Forest System lands entirely surrounded by private and State lands, lying approximately 10 miles south of Kalispell and two miles west of Flathead Lake.
The Wild Cramer Project is designed to improve or maintain the general health, resiliency and sustainability of forest stands, and reduce the risk of insect and disease infestations, according to the Forest Service. The project will help reduce forest fuels build-up adjacent to public and private lands, and help to provide a safer environment for the public and firefighters should a wildfire occur within the area.
The Forest Service said the community would benefit from wood products for the local timber industry, contributing to short-term timber supply and providing for long-term sustainability of timber on NFS lands. The community’s recreation industry will also benefit from the project addressing forest health issues within the Blacktail Mountain Ski Area permit boundary.
Management actions in the selected alternative include commercial harvesting of trees on 2,750 acres, thinning sapling trees on approximately 3,846 acres, non-commercially thinning of trees on 67 acres, and prescribed burning on 201 acres. Roughly seven miles of permanent road and 8.2 miles of temporary road will be constructed to facilitate the tree harvest activities. Temporary roads will be rehabilitated following their use and the permanent roads, after their use in project activities, will be put in a storage condition.
A copy of the Record of Decision and the final EIS can be obtained at the Hungry Horse Ranger Station at 10 Hungry Horse Drive, Hungry Horse, 59919 (406-387-3800); at the Swan Lake Ranger Station at 200 Ranger Station Road, Bigfork, MT 59911 (406-837-7500), or at the Flathead National Forest Supervisor’s Office, 650 Wolfpack Way, Kalispell, MT 59901 (406-758-5204).
The documents may also be downloaded from the Flathead National Forest website.
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