contact Michael Garrity, Executive Director, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, (406) 459-5936
Missoula, MT — A Montana federal district court halted the proposed Cabin Gulch timber sale in the Helena National Forest last night. The logging was planned on 2,289 acres, including 417 acres of clearcuts, 602 acres of prescribed burning, and 6.5 miles of new roads approximately 15 miles northeast of Townsend in the Big Belt Mountains.
Calling it “a great win for the lynx,” Mike Garrity, Executive Director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, announced that the court released its order last night halting the Cabin Gulch Timber Sale. “The court found that the US Forest Service violated the Endangered Species Act by not consulting on the impact of this massive timber on lynx, a very special and threatened animal in Montana,” Garrity said. “Consequently, the court remanded the project to the Forest Service for further analysis.”
The Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystems Council brought the lawsuit against the Helena National Forest on September 6, 2012.
“We are pleased that the court recognized that the analysis of effects to lynx by the Forest Service was inadequate,” said Sara Jane Johnson, Director of Native Ecosystems Council. “We continue to believe this area is a critical wildlife linkage corridor between the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem to the south and the Glacier Park/Northern Continental Divide Ecosytem to the northwest and is important for the recovery of lynx.”
Johnson concluded, “The Court’s order stopping the clearcutting will ensure that this part of the Big Belts will remain lynx habitat. Clearcutting on National Forests is the main reason lynx had to listed under the Endangered Species Act. If logging would have gone forward the forest would have been destroyed for lynx for the foreseeable future.”
Garrity concluded, “The Forest Service’s own experts say that lynx numbers are declining. It is time for the Forest Service to focus on recovering lynx instead of proposing more taxpayer subsidized clearcuts and logging roads for the timber industry. If Congress stopped funding corporate welfare for the timber industry they could not only save taxpayers money, they could keep lynx from going extinct.”