Forest Service Sued for Rampant Clearcutting in Montana

Conservation Groups file lawsuit in Federal District Court to stop
cleacutting in the Fleecer Mountains.

Contact Michael Garrity, Executive Director, Alliance for the Wild
Rockies   406 459-5936

Two conservation groups, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Native
Ecosystems Council filed a lawsuit yesterday afternoon in Federal
District Court in Missoula against the U.S. Forest Service and
Regional Forester Tom Tidwell to stop the Beaverhead-Deerlodge
National Forest’s Price Powder Timber Sale which authorizes
clearcutting 133 acres in the Fleecer Mountains, near the continental
divide approximately 10 miles southwest of Butte.  The groups contend
the Forest Service is violating the Forest Plan requirements for big
game, old growth and snags.

Dr. Sara Johnson, a former wildlife biologist for the Gallatin
National Forest and Director of Native Ecosystems Council said, “The
Forest Plan requires the Forest Service to designate replacement
snags for wildlife but instead the Forest Service is clearcutting an
area where the they admit there probably are not enough snags. The
Forest Service needs to get off this clearcutting binge.  The Forest
Service is addicted to clearcutting and they need to stop.  It is bad
for wildlife, it is bad for soils and is bad for hunting because the
elk leave when their hiding cover is clearcut.”

Dr. Johnson said, “The Forest Service’s own studies concluded that
clearcutting will harm old growth and snag dependent species such as
the hairy woodpecker, pine martin, goshawk and pileated woodpecker
and remove elk security cover.”

Michael Garrity, Executive Director of the Alliance for the Wild
Rockies said, “The Forest Service wants to log old growth forests and
destroy important elk habitat at a cost to taxpayers of nearly
$200,000.  At a time when the price of lumber is at a 35 year low in
real terms, the Forest Service should not be clearcutting elk habitat
to dump more timber on an already saturated market.  Montanans like
elk hunting, not clearcutting. The Forest Service needs to follow the
law and stop clearcutting critical big game winter range.


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