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Forest releases EA on Lake Five logging and thinning project

| April 28, 2021 6:55 AM

The Flathead National Forest last week released an environmental assessment for a logging and thinning project in the woods stretching from Lion Lake to West Glacier.

Called the Lake Five project, the project’s area is about 11,855 acres, but about 4,850 acres are private. The logging and thinning would only occur on the remaining national forest lands.

All told there’s about 305 cutting units proposed, stretching from Lion Lake to West Glacier. None of them are overly large, however and many abut private lands.

Most of the timber is lodgepole pine that’s 5.5 inches to 9.9 inches in diameter. It’s estimated to yield about 8.7 million board feet of merchantable timber.

“The forest vegetation in the Lake Five project area was heavily influenced by the Half Moon Fire of 1929, which burned the entire project area. This has resulted in large expanses of small diameter lodgepole pine

which is vulnerable to future stand-replacing fires and insect infestations,” the environmental assessment notes.

All told about 1,882 acres would be commercially thinned, and 1,283 acres would see “seed tree” logging, where a handful of trees — five to 15 — are left per acre.

The largest seed tree unit is just over 100 acres.

All told, the project would include just under 5 miles of new or reopened roads, but the roads would be closed or made impassable after the project, either with a gate or berm.

About 1.8 miles of roads will be decommissioned and all told, the project will use about 20 miles of roads.

About 556 acres would be replanted with western larch or rust-resistant white pine, while 726 acres would be allowed to naturally regenerate.

There is no old growth in the area.

“Fourteen regeneration

harvest units will create openings greater than 40 acres. These openings are proposed to be consistent with natural disturbance regimes and will create forests that are more resistant and resilient to future disturbances, in accordance with the forest plan,” the assessment states. Comments will be accepted until May 20.

Written comments can be submitted via mail or fax to: Robert Davies, Hungry Horse-Glacier View Ranger District, P.O. Box 190340, Hungry Horse, MT 59919, FAX: (406) 387-3889. Electronic comments including attachments can be submitted to comments-northernflathead- hungry-horse-glacier- view@usda.gov. Please put Lake Five project in the subject line.