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 Helena against the U.S. Forest Service and Regional Forester Tom Tidwell to stop the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest’s Cow Fly Timber Sale which authorizes logging on 242 acres in the West Fork Madison drainage in the Gravely Mountains. The groups contend the Forest Service is violating the Forest Plan requirements for elk security cover, old growth and snags and ignored the Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks advice to stop logging in the area because there were not enough trees left to provide security for elk.
Dr. Sara Johnson, a former wildlife biologist for the Gallatin National Forest and Director of Native Ecosystems Council said, “There has been tremendous cumulative impacts to old growth, elk security cover and other wildlife from the previous 52 timber sales in the area. The place has been logged to death. It is time for the Forest Service to start following their own rules and leave the little remaining old growth forest and snags in the area for wildlife habitat and elk security cover.”
Michael Garrity, Executive Director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies said, “The Forest Service wants to log old growth forest and destroy important elk habitat at a cost to taxpayer of over $330,000. At a time when the price of lumber is at a 35 year low in real terms, the Forest Service should not be destroying elk security cover. The Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks asked the Forest Service to stop logging in the area to protect one of the few elk security cover areas left due to the previous Forest Service’s 52 timber sales in West Fork Madison drainage. The Forest Service’s own rules state this area should be managed for elk security cover, not make work projects for federal bureaucrats. It is bad public policy to spend hundreds of thousand of dollars on a project which will hurt elk hunting in Montana. Montanans deserve better from their public servants.”