contact Michael Garrity, Executive Director, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, (406) 459-5936
Two conservation groups, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystems Council filed a lawsuit yesterday afternoon in Federal District Court in Missoula against the U.S. Forest Service and Regional Forester Tom Tidwell to stop the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest’s Price Powder Timber Sale which authorizes clearcutting 133 acres in the Fleecer Mountains, near the continental divide approximately 10 miles southwest of Butte. The groups contend the Forest Service is violating the Forest Plan requirements for big game, old growth and snags.
Dr. Sara Johnson, a former wildlife biologist for the Gallatin National Forest and Director of Native Ecosystems Council said, “The Forest Plan requires the Forest Service to designate replacement snags for wildlife but instead the Forest Service is clearcutting an area where the they admit there probably are not enough snags. The Forest Service needs to get off this clearcutting binge. The Forest Service is addicted to clearcutting and they need to stop. It is bad for wildlife, it is bad for soils and is bad for hunting because the elk leave when their hiding cover is clearcut.”
Dr. Johnson said, “The Forest Service’s own studies concluded that clearcutting will harm old growth and snag dependent species such as the hairy woodpecker, pine martin, goshawk and pileated woodpecker and remove elk security cover.”
Michael Garrity, Executive Director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies said, “The Forest Service wants to log old growth forests and destroy important elk habitat at a cost to taxpayers of nearly $200,000. At a time when the price of lumber is at a 35 year low in real terms, the Forest Service should not be clearcutting elk habitat to dump more timber on an already saturated market. Montanans like elk hunting, not clearcutting. The Forest Service needs to follow the law and stop clearcutting critical big game winter range.”