Forest Jobs and Recreation ActNeighbors working with neighbors across Montana
"Forest Jobs and Recreation Act" (S. 37): Jon Tester's keystone public lands bill would designate nearly 700,000 acres of Wilderness across the Beaverhead-Deerlodge, Lolo and Kootenai national forests of Montana while requiring the Forest Service to mechanically treat at least 100,000 acres of timber. For reading the legislation and to become a citizen cosponsor, please go to http://www.tester.senate.gov/?p=issue&id=70.
To see more details about the partners and the process, go to www.montanaforests.org.
THREE RIVERS CHALLENGE
The portions of the Forest Jobs & Recreation Act that pertain to management on the Kootenai National Forest are the direct result of the Three Rivers Challenge.
The Three Rivers Challenge is the map of common ground that was created from the work of the Lincoln County Coalition – a diverse bipartisan citizens’ group comprised of loggers, mill owners, snowmobile and ATV riders, conservationists, hunters and anglers, wilderness advocates, educators, elected officials, outfitters and local businesses. We joined together in a collaborative attempt to promote forest health, sustainable landscape management and sustainable communities and forests; to revitalize the wood products industry and our local economy, to preserve recreation opportunities, both motorized and nonmotorized, and to protect certain backcountry areas in the Yaak. We mapped an area of common ground that we think can end the timber wars on the Three Rivers District and avert a potential war between motorized and nonmotorized recreation.To further these goals we sought to develop, in partnership with the Three Rivers District of the Kootenai National Forest, the Three Rivers District Cooperative Stewardship Forest Study Area – a small experimental pilot project area - which would do the following:
- Provide opportunities for treating small diameter overstocked fuels on certain lands beginning in the wildland urban interface closest to private property and working out reducing hazardous fuels that threaten human communities.
- Make the overstocked fuels available for processing in area mills
- Create jobs in restoration forestry activities – which can include forest thinning, stand improvements, road restoration, underburning, etc – for the purpose of enhancing watersheds and critical fish and wildlife habitat
- Provide for the participation of diverse community stakeholders in conjunction with authorized Federal, State and local agencies, in planning how to best use forest land in Lincoln County.
- Encourage meaningful, proactive and positive partnership with the Three Rivers District on the Kootenai National Forest
- Create a special mediated appeals process for this pilot area that will encourage appeals resolution on the ground and not in the court room. Establish a Resource Advisory Committee for the pilot project area.
- Designate Roderick Inventoried Roadless area as Wilderness
- Make permanent existing snowmobile use in North West Peaks Scenic Area and portions of Buckhorn Ridge and Mt. Henry Inventoried Roadless areas.
- Create a permanent non-motorized area in North West Peaks Inventoried Roadless area and backcountry recreation areas in portions of the Mt. Henry and Buckhorn Ridge Inventoried Roadless Areas.
- Create the Three Rivers Community Recreation Working Group to seek resolution of potential motorized and non-motorized recreation conflicts.
To read a recent editorial on the FJRA, click here.