Conservation Groups Challenge Timber Sale in the Swan Valley

Groups claim Forest Service failed to consider effects of logging on the viability of the fisher

By Beacon Staff

Four conservation groups have filed suit in U.S. District Court in Missoula challenging the Cold Jim Timber Sale on the Swan Lake Ranger District of the Flathead National Forest about 3 miles northwest of Condon.

The plaintiffs are Swan View Coalition, Friends of the Wild Swan, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, and Native Ecosystems Council.

“The plans calls for 740 acres of commercial logging including clear-cutting and building 3.1 miles of new logging roads,” Mike Garrity, Executive Director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, said.

Garrity said the Flathead National Forest failed to adequately consider the effects of the logging on the viability of the fisher, a Management Indicator Species for species that require vast tracts of closed-canopied mature, un-roaded, thick forest.

Sara Jane Johnson, director of the Native Ecosystems Council and a former Gallatin National Forest wildlife biologist, explained the importance of old growth, snag retention, and the interconnectedness of species in the area.

“The Forest Service wants the public to believe that forests need to be logged in order to have a healthy forest. But nothing could be further from the truth,” she said. “Wildlife and thick, old growth forests go together.”

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