by Gazette Staff
The Gallatin National Forest has withdrawn its East Boulder Fuels Reduction Project to re-examine the project in the wake of the re-listing of gray wolves.
“We wanted to do some more analysis because it’s an endangered species,” said Marna Daley, public affairs officer for the Gallatin.
The project, which was approved in June, was designed to increase firefighter and public safety in the event of a severe wildfire. As designed, the work called for logging 640 acres and building 2.5 miles of temporary roads off the East Boulder Creek Road, south of Big Timber, which accesses the Stillwater Mining Corp.’s East Boulder Mine.
Daley said the Forest Service would also re-examine the sale in regards to elk security cover, calling the two reviews “relatively minor.”
The Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystems Council have appealed the decision to proceed.
Michael Garrity, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, criticized the project in a press release and hailed the delay.”The Forest Service made the right decision in pulling back from this bad project.
The proposal called for logging grizzly bear, lynx, pine martin and wolverine habitat.
The problem is that the Forest Service couldn’t find any of these species in the project area because past logging in the area had driven them off.”
Garrity added, “We would be happy to support a decision which limited the logging to next to the road, where it was needed. But we couldn’t support a timber sale that went right up to the roadless area boundary and had nothing to do with public safety. This was an illegal timber sale that focused on getting the cut out for a nonexistent timber market.”