KALISPELL – The ink is barely dry on the new Flathead National Forest plan and already two groups say they’ll challenge the lengthy document in court.
The Flathead National Forest just released the final version of its new Forest Land Management Plan, which updates the previous plans that dated back to the 1980s.
The plan sets new rules for roadless areas, protecting grizzly bears and other resources.
Future timber industry work will be limited. Of the 2.3 million acres of National Forest lands, nearly 2 million won’t be suitable for logging — most of that remaining in the Bob Marshall, Great Bear and Mission Mountains wilderness areas, and other places recommended as wilderness.
The Swan View Coalition and Friends of the Wild Swan say they’re filing suit to block the plan arguing it doesn’t do enough to protect habitat for grizzly bears, or the endangered bull trout. Specifically, they argue the plan allows new roadbuilding in the forest, which they say will further ruin habitat.
Keith Hammer of the Swan View Coalition is also accusing the US Forest Service of giving up on plans to abandon and remove unused logging roads.
The groups plan to file suit in US District Court within 60 days. Click here to learn more about the management plan.
Reporting by Dennis Bragg for MTN News