Thoughts on Moose

| February 26, 2020 7:33 AM

Last week I was mostly whining about how the land management agencies are prone to “kicking the can” down the road. In my opinion, that is the practice of high level politicians and land management agencies that are so afraid of political controversy that they will do anything to avoid taking action.

That is not true on a local level. Best example of that is the recently approved Flathead Forest Plan and the Frozen Moose proposal.

Both are the result of local USFS official’s research and collaboration with locals.

I have seen the one letter written by a local landowner who opposes the Frozen Moose proposal. I don’t know this person, but I do know he is out of step with the North Fork landowners that I know in the affected area. Many of them have spent the last 15 or more years managing their own land and encouraging the Forest Service to do the same. The Frozen Moose does just that. I will aid private landowners in protecting their property by finally reducing fuel for fires on previously unmanaged federal lands. It will open up areas for wildlife, reduce the risk of stand replacement wildfire, enhance views and increase the diversity of plant life including trees and huckleberries.

The Forest Service routinely informs private landowners of proposed activity on adjacent property.

Granted, the USFS does not give veto power to private landowners but they do listen and make every effort to mitigate or eliminate any concerns. I would violently object to the USFS telling me what or how to manage my land and I do not expect them to allow me to order them around.

My property is surrounded by private property and I am tickled that all of my neighbors have logged and thinned the fuels on their property. By doing so they have made (along with my own logging and thinning) my property much more defensible in case of wildfire. Because of this activity the private landowners have controlled several small fires started by lightning. A failure to manage the forest leads to poor growth of trees, bigger fires and the unnecessary destruction of wildlife habitat, which often takes years or decades to repair.

Finally, the Frozen Moose project will not change road density. Any roads constructed for logging will be closed and rehabbed when projects are complete.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks is actively working to prevent mussels in our waters and the spread of chronic wasting disease in ungulates. The public is urged to cooperate in boat testing even though it is sometimes inconvenient.

CWD is a tough one – try and put animal bones etc. in green boxes do not leave in forest. Call FWP if you observe or kill an animal that appears sick.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is putting plans together to delist the Canadian lynx and continues to review delisting grizzly bears. They have also noted that cell phones kill bull trout. This is caused by anglers keeping fish out of the water too long to take photos.

DNRC has plans for a timber sale north of Mud Lake. It will involve 640,000 board feet of logs and a lot of post and pole material.

All in all I believe the Interlocal is an important effort by private landowners and government agencies to share information. I hope it continues for another thirty years.

What do you think?

Larry Wilson’s North Fork Views appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.