Montana: Lawsuit filed to stop Lonesome Wood Timber Sale on the Gallatin NF

Two conservation groups are suing the U.S. Forest Service to prevent
logging and road building in grizzly bear habitat near Yellowstone
National Park. The Alliance for the Wild Rockies and the Native
Ecosystems Council filed the suit Friday in U.S. District Court in
Missoula. The plaintiffs seek to stop the Lonesome Wood Timber Sale on
the Gallatin National Forest. The project is aimed at wildfire fuels
reduction. It authorizes logging of old growth forests in what the
groups say is occupied grizzly bear habitat. The project includes some
logging in a roadless area along Hebgen Lake, five miles west of
Yellowstone National Park.

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Michael Garrity, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild
Rockies, said the project intrudes on sensitive grizzly habitat.
“Grizzly Bears in the Yellowstone Ecosystem were recently taken off
the Endangered Species list and as soon as they were delisted the
Forest Service proposed building more roads into occupied grizzly bear
habitat,” Garrity said in a news release. The project authorizes 1,572
acres of commercial logging, including 422 acres of old growth
habitat, and the building of 5.1 miles of roads.

The project includes  some logging in a roadless area along Hebgen Lake, 10 miles northwest  of West Yellowstone and five miles west of Yellowstone National Park.  The Lonesome Wood project was approved in April 2008. The two  conservation groups filed administrative appeals in June that were
denied in July. They filed the federal court lawsuit Friday.

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