contact Michael Garrity, Executive Director, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, (406) 459-5936
The Alliance for the Wild Rockies filed a lawsuit yesterday in Federal District Court to stop the proposed Rennic Stark Timber Sale on the Ninemile Ranger District of the Lolo National Forest. The proposal calls for 1,976 acres of commercial logging, 1,976 acres of non-commercial thinning, 5,250 acres of prescribed burning, including approximately 2,813 acres within the Stark Mountain Inventoried Roadless area. It also calls for 34.3 miles of haul-related maintenance and reconstruction on existing roads. The project will adversely impact the wild habitat for grizzly bears, Canada lynx, wolverine, Northern goshawk, fisher, pileated woodpecker, bull trout, and Westslope cutthroat trout.
The National Forest Management Act requires the Forest Service to ensure that there are viable populations of wildlife in the forest after they log,” Mike Garrity, Executive Director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies explained. “In this case the federal government is once again simply ignoring the law.”
“Logging and prescribed burning will adversely affect old growth dependent species such as fisher, goshawk, and lynx,” Garrity continued. “The fisher, whose numbers are in decline, and are listed by the Forest Service as a ‘sensitive species.’ The proposed logging will destroy 3,440 acres of fisher habitat because scientific research finds that fisher won’t go into a clearcut for at least 80 years and they won’t cross openings of more than 42 feet.”
“Goshawks are listed as a ‘species of concern’ because of declining population,” Garrity continued. “So it makes no sense to stress them additionally by logging even more of their habitat.
The Forest Service needs to leave some old forests for dependent species like the goshawk and fisher. Otherwise, they will drive them onto the Endangered Species List.”
“The Forest Service has already destroyed the Ninemile watershed for goshawks. Even though goshawks are a ‘management indicator’ species for the Lolo National Forest, the agency couldn’t find a single breeding pair of goshawks,”
Garrity concluded. “It is long past time the Forest Service started managing for recovery of old growth dependent species instead of continuing to manage for their extinction.”