Montana: State to log 21 million bd. ft. of the last old growth in Swan Valley

Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation has approved
a forest management project in the Swan Valley that will yield an
estimated 21.5 million board-feet of timber over three years. White
Porcupine project will involve multiple timber sales on 1,519 acres on
the west side of the Swan River State Forest, with harvesting targeted
at old-growth timber stands on 1,146 acres.

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Montgomery said the project will have impacts on wildlife habitat.
Logging will render 1,200 acres unsuitable for lynx denning and
foraging for decades and it will reduce hiding cover for grizzly
bears, she said. It will involve construction of 14 new miles of
forest roads that will compound sedimentation from an existing road
network, Montgomery said, to the detriment of spawning habitat for
threatened bull trout.

“Liquidating scarce old-growth wildlife
habitat is not environmentally sound,” said Arlene Montgomery,
conservation program director with Friends of the Wild Swan.
“Liquidating any of the school trust assets when timber prices are at
the lowest levels in decades is not fiscally sound.” But Roberson said
that besides generating revenue, the project is aimed at addressing
severe insect and disease problems in the targeted stands. “Those
stands are liquidating themselves and we are trying to regenerate them
for the future and recover value,” Roberson said. “We are dealing with
forest insect and disease issues that are out there and not waiting.”

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