Take Action to Protect 4,000 Acres of
Old-Growth Forests on the Bitterroot National Forest in Montana!
TAKE ACTION TODAY! WE NEED YOUR HELP sending a clear message
to the Forest Service that industrial logging of old-growth
forests on the Bitterroot National Forest in Montana is unacceptable.
Official comments needed to be in by June 13, 2005. Over 10,000
people sent in comments. However, it's still important to
let Bitterroot National Forest officials know how you feel
about this project. So we are still encouraging people to
send in comments throughout the summer. These comments can
have still a positive impact.
HERE to send an official comment letter to the Bitterroot
National Forest. Or use the background information and
"Talking Points" below to compose your own letter.
BACKGROUND: On December 3, 2003 the so-called Healthy Forests
Restoration Act (HFRA) into law. The first HFRA project on
National Forest lands in the Northern Rockies is called the
Middle East Fork Hazardous Fuel Reduction project, on the
Bitterroot National Forest (BNF), along the East Fork of the
Bitterroot River in Montana. According to BNF officials, the
goal of this project is to protect the East Fork community
from wildfire and "restore" the forests within the
East Fork area.
While the Native Forest Network supports these goals the truth
of the matter is that the BNF's preferred Alternative 2 would
mix a small amount of bona-fide community protection work
with industrial logging of 4,000 acres of unlogged, old-growth
forests, home to elk, bighorn sheep, moose, bear, wolves,
coyote, bull trout, cutthroat trout, goshawk, martin, pileated
woodpecker and flammulated owl.
In response to the harmful parts of the Forest Service's proposal,
local forest protection groups - together with foresters,
firefighters, restoration practitioners, hunters and others
- developed a superior community wildfire protection plan
that truly protects and restores old-growth forests called
the Community Protection and Local Economy Alternative (Alternative
For more details on this project, including photos and videos,
TALKING POINTS FOR YOUR LETTER
• Tell the Bitterroot National Forest that you are opposed
to their preferred Alternative 2 in the Middle East Fork Hazardous
Fuel Reduction project. Tell the BNF that it’s unacceptable
to mix a small amount of bona-fide community protection work
with industrial logging of unlogged, old-growth forests with
trees up to four feet in diameter! These forests are home
to elk, bighorn sheep, moose, black bear, wolves, coyote,
bull trout, cutthroat trout, goshawk, martin, pileated woodpecker
and flammulated owls.
• Tell the Bitterroot National Forest to select Alternative
3 developed by local forest protection groups, foresters,
firefighters, restoration practitioners, hunters and others.
Alternative 3 provides superior wildfire protection to the
East Fork community by comprehensively treating the Community
Protection Zone (CPZ) within 1/4 mile of homes. In addition,
it treats another 1,000 acres through pre-commercial thinning
in plantations and slashing small fuels around large, legacy
trees. Alternative 3 will protect old-growth forests and critical
wildlife habitat from industrial logging and would reflect
the common ground of a wide variety of stakeholders, rather
than more polarization.
• According to Bitterroot National Forest’s draft
environmental impact statement (DEIS), Alternative 2 would
cost the U.S. Taxpayers $1 million more than Alternative 3.
The U.S. Forest Service is closing campgrounds around the
country, and doesn’t have money to maintain our public
trails and recreational facilities. Spending an additional
$1 million subsidizing the logging industry doesn’t
• According to the DEIS, 8,500 acres, or 33%, of the
project area has already been logged. An additional 4,000
acres of industrial logging up the East Fork will have many
negative impacts, concerning many hunters and outdoor enthusiasts
as well as scientists.
• The Bitterroot National Forest’s proposal has
the potential to increase the spread of weeds and illegal
ATV use, not to mention further degrade soils and harm water
quality within the East Fork. In fact, according to the DEIS,
47% of the "treatment" units would take place in
areas where soil damage is already above the Forest Service’s
• According to the DEIS, a majority of the logging units
are located in important watersheds that are already in poor
condition. More logging and log-truck traffic on roads along
impaired streams, such as Guide, Tepee and Jennings Camp Creeks,
will increase sedimentation, potentially harming bull trout
and westslope cutthroat trout.
MAKE SURE TO SEND YOUR LETTER TO EACH OF THE FOLLOWING
Tracy M Hollingshead, Sula District Ranger: email@example.com
Dave Bull, Bitterroot National Forest Supervisor: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gail Kimbell, Northern Region Forester: email@example.com
Official Middle East Fork Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: You must state "MEF - COMMENTS" in the email
subject line. To send your comments via snail mail post to:
MEF - Comments, Sula District Ranger, Bitterroot
National Forest, 7338 Hwy. 93 South, Sula, MT 59871.