An updated management plan for Flathead National Forest is delayed yet again.
Janette Turk, spokesperson for the U.S. Forest Service, said the final environmental impact statement and draft records of decision for the revised forest plan and forest plan amendments are now slated for October due to the need to coordinate schedules with the agency’s Washington, D.C. headquarters. The plan was previously scheduled for release this spring but was stalled until August before the latest delay.
The Forest Service has proposed four alternative management plans for the Flathead National Forest, pitching different strategies for recreational opportunities, timber production, wildlife and habitat. For the first time since 1986, the Forest Service is crafting an update of its so-called forest plan, which lays out the long-term guidelines for managing the Flathead National Forest, the 10th largest national forest in the U.S.
The agency released the draft environmental impact statement in May 2016. The draft EIS also addressed potential environmental consequences of the draft forest plan amendments that incorporate management direction for grizzly bears for the Helena-Lewis and Clark, Kootenai, and Lolo national forests.