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Comment Archives: stories: Blogs: Indy Blog: Last 7 Days

Re: “What the national media has written about Krakauer's Missoula so far (updating)

When I was a UM sophomore in '72 I was raped at gunpoint. Again the horrific details and the lack of police concern were parallel to this current exposure. I am trying to add to this 'teachable moment' and see how can step away from our egoic concern of tainting our city & be the change we want to see.

Posted by Ellie Rapp on 04/24/2015 at 4:39 PM

Re: “Tension tour

What is the time frame for this scheme? If it gets the go ahead, when would it start, and how long before it would be completed, as currently proposed ?

I don't live in or near Missoula now and haven't for close to 40 years, and only get to Missoula 2 or 3 times a year, so I don't remember much in detail about the Rattlesnake NRA and adjoining areas. I have no doubt that 100 years of aggressive fire suppression and Plum Creek's (and others' ?) depredations have left the area in a state of serious environmental chaos.

Not being intimately familiar with the situation, I wonder if the concerns about logging traffic and "improving" the road and bridge in the Rattlesnake couldn't be addressed by breaking the project into several small contracts spread out over several years, and restricting any timber sales to horse logging operations, only.

But small sales and horse logging aren't sexy, and probably won't get you an M.A. in forestry, in this age of industrial scale everything.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by alf on 04/23/2015 at 2:42 PM

Re: “Tension tour

Thanks for the coverage Missoula Indy. The origins of this project – based on my recollections and involvement, anyway – go back even further than Andy Kulla's suggestion of 2008.

I'll paste some of that early history below, which I believe goes back to 2004 or 2005, and which was also shared on the Missoula Indy's website back in 2010.

Also, word on the street is that U.S. Forest Service silviculturist Sherly Gunn is getting her master's degree at the University of Montana and that her thesis is on the Rattlesnake National Recreation Act logging project. If true, that seems like a pretty big conflict of interest. Also, if true, that means that the U.S. Forest Service's 'expert' on the Rattlesnake NRA logging project only currently has a B.S. How ironic.…

According to my recollection, the origins of this project took hold in 2004 or 2005 when Maggie Pittman was still the Missoula District Ranger. Ranger Pittman and organization's such as the WildWest Institute, Sierra Club, Wildlands CPR, Wildland Conservation Services and others got together and started talking about a good restoration project for the Lolo National Forest that was very much near to Missoula.

The real impetuous for this project was the fact that some very heavily roaded and cut over Plum Creek Timber Company lands in the Woods Gulch/Marshal area were going to be transferred over to US Forest Service ownership and management.

We originally talked with Ranger Pittman and the FS about the need for some restoration in the Woods/Marshall area on those newly acquired parcels of Plum Creek land (mainly dealing with roads and weeds and some fuel reduction).

There were even discussions about the potential of restoring these damaged Plum Creek lands once the FS took over ownership and then getting some of these newly restored lands put into the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area, which I think is still a really great idea and something that would have a lot of public support.

One important issue the public should be fully informed about is the fact that now the Forest Service is planning to conduct commercial logging operations up to 3 miles up the main corridor of the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area to the Poe Meadows area.

As this article points out, to accomplish this, and accommodate for logging trucks to drive 3 miles up the main corridor of the Rattlesnake NRA, a number of expensive upgrades would have to made to the main corridor, which is currently closed to motorized vehicles and only open to bikes, horses and foot-traffic. These upgrades would include replacing the bridge over Spring Creek (about 1/2 mile up the main corridor) so that log trucks could go over the bridge and make the sharp corner currently in that section of the bike/hiking trail. A commercial logging operation 3 miles up the main corridor of the Rattlesnake NRA would also require closure of this bike/hike/horse trail during the project.

Originally, the Forest Service was shying away from conducting commercial logging up the main corridor of the Rattlesnake due to 1) costs associated with improving the road for log truck traffic and replacing the Spring Creek bridge; 2) lack of a timber market and 3) social/public implications of running log trucks 3 miles up the main corridor.

In fact, as recently as an early August 2010 field trip to the project area, the Forest Service again expressed a reluctance to do the commercial logging and log hauling 3 miles up the main corridor.

However, a few weeks later, when the Forest Service released their proposed plan for the area, the idea for commercial logging, Spring Creek bridge work and log truck traffic 3 miles up the main corridor suddenly became a preferred part of their plan.

The Rattlesnake National Recreation Area is obviously a very special place for many people and families in the Missoula area. The number of people and families biking, walking and recreating up the main corridor is remarkable. At a minimum the Forest Service should be clearly letting the public know that the FS's current preferred plan calls for commercial logging and logging truck traffic going up to 3 miles up the main corridor. Part of this plan, would also involved spending tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars making the upgrades to the road and Spring Creek bridge to handle all of this logging truck traffic.

While I am personally 100% supportive of much of the proposed restoration work as part of this Marshall Woods restoration project, sending big logging trucks and logging equipment 3 miles up the main corridor (and ensuring that the current main corridor trail is upgraded for log truck traffic) seems like a misguided idea. I would suspect that the vast majority of Missoulian's who use, value and cherish the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area would agree. Thanks.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Matthew Koehler on 04/23/2015 at 10:06 AM

Re: “Geared up for a fight

There are times when targeting the Forest Service (and other governmental agencies) that manage public lands may sometimes be a waste of energy and resources. This appears to be one of those situations.

Almost four decades ago (1976), Congress enacted the legislation that stipulated how Wilderness Study Areas should be managed. Because of a 2011 lawsuit regarding the way those areas were being managed in the Gallatin National Forest, a Federal Court recently issued a judgment that more clearly defined how Wilderness Study Areas should be managed.

Claims that the Bitterroot National Forest should not follow the judgement of the Court simply because that judgement restricts uses that likely should not have been allowed in the first place, is tantamount to asking the Bitterroot National Forest to break the law.

If people disagree with the law, displeasure should be directed at their elected representatives in the U.S. Senate and Congress. Complaining to an agency that is simply attempting to follow a ruling by the Court is likely to gain little more than publicity. If results are what are desired, it is better to apply pressure where it has a chance of achieving something.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Michael Hoyt on 04/19/2015 at 5:19 PM

Re: “Geared up for a fight

The Wilderness act is pretty straight forward. The argument against the interpretation has made them lose all credibility on the rest of their argument.

0 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Robert Wood on 04/19/2015 at 1:13 PM

Re: “Geared up for a fight

Bureacratic inertia at its finest! Montana's public land doesnt need to be managed like connecticut's. The Wilderness Study areas do not meet the governments own criteria for wilderness.

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Jack Wade on 04/18/2015 at 5:52 PM

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