Group sues to stop Hebgen timber sale

Pages from lonesome wood rod

Another Montana project.. above is the map. You can click on it to get greater detail.

Here’s a link to a news story, below is an excerpt.

The area covered by the timber sale is along the western and southern shores of Hebgen Lake. The Forest Service initiated the project, saying logging would safeguard area cabins from wildfires.

But Mike Garrity of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies said some of the proposed logging is in roadless areas away from the cabins. The Forest Service would build six miles of logging roads and log 400 acres of designated old growth forest.

Both groups claim the old growth areas are habitat for lynx, grizzly bears and wolverines, all of which are rare. The Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service both determined in an assessment that logging would adversely affect grizzlies and lynx.
Garrity said the groups don’t oppose all the logging in that area, just the old growth sections.
“Their own fire expert says to start at the structures and work out, clearing the trees to create a defensible space, and they’re not doing that,” Garrity said.
This isn’t the first challenge for this area. The Forest Service proposed a similar sale but dropped the sale after Alliance for the Wild Rockies sued in 2009.
Garrity said the Forest Service loses money on timber sales, because it is usually unable to get enough money for the logs to cover its costs.
“Right now, when the government is authorizing less spending with the sequester, timber sales cost the taxpayer,” Garrity said.

In a couple of seconds, I was able to find this handy ROD. It’s in a pdf so you can search for old growth. You can look at the map and see how far the units are from private land (not very).. “roadless areas”?. But it would be handy to have the overlay of the units on Googlemaps.

Vegetation – Old Growth Protection
45. Old growth stands in Compartment 709 will be avoided during unit layout. Unit boundaries for unit 17, 20, 25, 26C, 26B and 26A will avoid adjacent old growth stands 70907006 (unit 17), 70907029 (unit 20), 70906036 (unit 25/26c), 70904036 (units 26a/26b). These avoidances will require inspection of preliminary unit boundaries on the ground to ensure old growth stands are avoided.

I’m sure it is more complex than it appears from this glance, but that is what I’d expect a story to get at .. if Garrity says they are far away and going into old growth, what does the FS have to say?

Note for retirees and other local folks Even if the FS can’t share their perspective due to the litigation cone of silence, you can learn about the project and be available to the media. You can be spokespeople for CREATE. Part of CREATE’s mission is to ensure that good information is given to the public about projects. This is one “direct action” approach.

Trail maintenance and fire suppression also cost the taxpayer, so I’m not sure exactly what Garrity’s point is there.

Sharon’s review of document:
I think the ROD is convenient to use, and generally excellent with all the information you need to find right there. Would also like to see more photos and the units on Google maps. Maybe they are located somewhere else. A- Nice work!

Sharon’s review of news story:
Did not even superficially examine Garrity’s claims. D

9 thoughts on “Group sues to stop Hebgen timber sale”

  1. L. I didn’t mean to be critical of your work.. if you don’t read the blog regularly you might not see the context is that due to changes in the industry, people might not have enough time to really investigate a complex subject.

    IRA’s can be next to houses… do you know what unit on the map is in the IRA (that’s why googlemaps with an IRA overlay would be handy).?

    Also, the public was told by many environmental groups that the 2001 Rule would “protect roadless areas” and the 2001 Rule allows those treatments in roadless areas. Is Mr. Garrity saying now that the 2001 Rule is not adequately protective of those areas?

    • Sharon, When have enviros EVER said that the 2001 Roadless Rule adequately, or completely, protects roadless areas? We all know what the rule says and does and what it doesn’t say or do. So no one is moving any goalposts or anything. Again, what’s will all these unfounded assumptions/accusations and always just generally assuming the worst of environmentalists?

      • Well, I remember hearing it and so looked on the internet. I suppose I could find more but here is the quote

        “The 2001 national Roadless Rule is the gold standard” from Earthjustice.

        Here is the link.

        What is more intriguing is that the conversation about specifically targeting fuels treatment in roadless areas , when we were working on the Colorado Rule, was that we didn’t need the rule because you could do them under the 2001. This goes back to the language of “To maintain or restore the characteristics of ecosystem composition and structure, such as to reduce the risk of uncharacteristic wildfire effects, within the range of variability that would be expected to
        occur under natural disturbance regimes of the current climatic period.” If I were a lawyer, I might want to start new litigation on the 2001 Rule as it seems the science is outdated…but that’s just me ;).

        About assuming the worst..I don’t intend to, this is the place not to.. what did I do? I just remembered a quote and looked at a map and raised some questions.

        • Calling the 2001 Roadless Rule the “gold standard” – whatever that even means – compared with the Colardo Rule is not the same thing as saying that the 2001 Roadless Rule adequately, or completely, protects roadless areas, which I’m pretty sure environmental group have never claimed, since we know what the Rules says, etc. That’s all I’m saying.

  2. Hey, this is the timber sale where I mentioned a few days ago that a vast amount of “mature” was about to turn into “old growth.” The usual suspects.

  3. Here’s a couple more interesting things about this sale regarding the “old growth” Garrity claims will be logged away. The “logging” in the 450 acres of old growth is the “thinning from below” you so like Sharon.

    In “compartment 709,” 20% is currently old growth and 60% mature. No old growth would be logged in this compartment. The DN states, “Most of the mature stands originated around 1870-1885 (making the mature stands around 125-140 years old)and are expected to reach old growth age within 10-25 years. Up to 80% of the compartment could be old growth in the next two decades.”

    In “compartment 710,where the 400 acres of old growth logging would occur,the amount of old growth would be reduced by 2% from the 40% that is currently old growth…and “90%” of the compartment could be old growth within 25 years. The “forest plan standard” for this management area is 30% (wa, wa, wa, waaah). Of course, the seedling sapling stage is currently 0% in this compartment. (ironically, just the kind of habitat a grizzly needs-huh)

    A reasonable person would believe that “old growth” is hardly the issue here.As usual, upon closer scrutiny,Garrity’s claims are simply laughable.


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