Montana: Custer NF approves two timber sales in Fork Rock and Benbow

This week, Beartooth District Ranger Traute Parrie approved the work
on 238 acres in the Main Fork Rock Creek drainage, about nine miles
south of Red Lodge, and on 377 acres in the Benbow area and near
Fishtail Creek close to Dean. Logging could begin as early as this
winter on commercial sales and take five to 10 years utilizing hand
crews, chain saws and mechanized equipment in other areas.

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“There’s a lot of hand work, and most of it will rely on appropriations funding,” said Dan Seifert, project manager for the Beartooth District. “We wanted to get the plan in place so we’re ready when the funding comes down. He added that the district is hopeful that there is some money for fuels reduction projects released through the economic stimulus bill working its way through Congress. Based on past projects, the cost to remove the timber is estimated at $800 an acre, Seifert said.

That puts the price of the Rock Creek work, where there is no commercial timber, at more than $190,000. “So for areas that don’t have commercial value, it ends up being pretty expensive,” Seifert said. The Custer National Forest’s annual budget for fuels reduction is split between its three districts. Last year, that amount was $15,000. The agency is hoping to get commercial bids for 188 acres of the timber near Benbow. Contracts could be drawn up for bids as quickly as a few weeks, but past experience has shown minimal interest in similar projects, Seifert said.

“We haven’t had a lot of success getting bids,” Seifert said, since sawmills are few and even those still in business have cut their work force. The last project the forest put out for bid, the amount the Forest Service requested as its share of the project had to be lowered three times before a bid was made. The other 189 acres in the Benbow area are not considered commercial and would cost the forest $150,000 to log.

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Comments (1)

TimberOctober 4th, 2011 at 11:12 pm

Thank you for the great post…

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