The North Fork Ecosystem is one of the most unique and protected districts in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem sharing a border and watershed with Glacier National Park. Federal laws protect its scenic beauty, wildlife, forests and rivers that are symbiotic with Glacier Park. Glacier View District has been restricted by congressional mandates from commercial logging and associated activities in or adjacent to the “North Fork Wild/Scenic Corridor,” “Tuchuck – Whale Wilderness” area, designated roadless areas, grizzly bear habitat/corridors and bull trout riparian zones.
In recent months the Glacier View District proposed unprecedented and aggressive projects that will commercially log, thin, burn and build access roads on over 10,000 acres located in or next to these protected areas. These projects would violate and circumvent numerous congressional protections and their own management practices predicated on the pretense that cutting down the forest throughout the protected North Fork will prevent or significantly reduce intense wildfires and provide “safe wildland fire operations.” This is a misguided argument and a classic government overreach.
Commercial logging will also take place adjacent to or a few hundred feet from the boundaries of over half of the private property located in the Upper North Fork, which will have a significant negative effect on the “high scenic quality” these properties enjoy. In this area the federal government should not be logging right up to private property boundaries without the consent of owners.
Glacier Park and adjacent areas are the premier attraction for tourists because of the stunning views of their mountains, forests and streams. Much of the proposed commercial logging will be next to or within one half mile of the North Fork Road that parallels Glacier Park. This scenic road serves as the western park entrance and is heavily travel by tourists. Commercially logged areas are unnatural, unattractive and therefore uninviting to tourists. Significant logging near this road could threaten tourism.
Douglas C. Rigler