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DNRC Headquarters
1539 Eleventh Ave. Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 444-2074 | Fax: (406) 444-2684
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Goldielogs Proposed Timber Sale Information

 

 

Welcome to the Goldie Logs Proposed Timber Sale Project Webpage! The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) Trust Land Management Division (TLMD), Southwest Land Office, is proposing a timber sale project on State trust lands near Potomac, Montana in the Gold Creek watershed.  Specifically, DNRC TLMD is proposing to harvest approximately 2.5 MMbf from 570 acres within Section 36, T14N R17W (see Map of Project Area).

We recognize that this is an important area to our neighbors and many community members throughout Missoula and its surroundings areas in the Blackfoot watershed.  We want to provide you with every opportunity to ask us questions about the project, provide input, share your concerns, and stay updated on and involved in each step of the process.  We will be updating this webpage throughout the development of the proposed timber sale (see Tentative Project Timeline)

Goldielogs Timeline

We recognize that the timeline presented below is currently out of date (as of 4/7/2022). As we begin to revisit this project in the spring/summer of 2022, an up-to-date project timeline will be provided in the near future. Members of the public who have requested to be included on project updates will be notified of the new project timeline once it is available.

Goldielogs Maps

Goldielogsprojectareamap.webpage.jpg
Goldielogs Project Update

Project Contact

Mail:
Scott Allen, Project Leader
ATTN: Goldie Logs timber sale
Montana DNRC, Missoula Unit
3206 Maverick Ln
Missoula, MT  59804

Email:
[SAllen@mt.gov]

Phone:
[406-542-4201]


What are State trust lands?

Upon ratification of the Montana State Constitution in 1889, the U.S. Congress granted certain lands to the State of Montana for support of common schools and other public institutions.  To this day, these lands are held in trust for the specific trust beneficiaries to which they were assigned and ultimately for the people of the State of Montana (1972 Montana Constitution Article X, Section 11).  The Board of Land Commissioners (Land Board) and the DNRC TLMD are required by law to manage these State trust lands to produce reasonable and legitimate return for the trust beneficiary institutions while considering environmental factors and protecting the future income-generating capacity of the land (1972 Montana Constitution, Article X, Section 11; Montana Code Annotated [MCA] 77-1-202).

State trust lands within the Goldie Logs area are currently held in trust for the benefit of the Common Schools Trust. 

Why is DNRC proposing to harvest timber in the Goldielogs Project Area?

Part of DNRC’s mission is to manage the State forest resource for its health and long-term sustainability and to protect and enhance the future income-generating capacity of the trust land.

Many of the stands in the project area have high tree densities and increasing amounts of shade tolerant species that, due to the lack of natural or human-caused disturbance, may soon dominate these stands.   Continued increases of the shade tolerant component in the project area would move these stands away from desired future conditions (DFC).  These stands lack the seral species regeneration that is necessary to maintain and promote DFC in these stands. 

Active management in these stands would produce revenue for the Common Schools Trust while encouraging stand conditions that reflect DNRC’s goals of managing for healthy and biologically diverse forests.

What activities would be associated with the project?

The proposed project would use individual tree selection harvest methods utilizing both conventional/tractor and cable harvest systems. Access to the proposed harvest units would require the construction of up to approximately 0.5 miles of new, restricted access road. (see the proposed map of the project area)

Where specifically would activities take place and when?

DNRC TLMD is conducting analysis for harvest activities in an area encompassing up to 570 acres within section 36 of Township 14 North, Range 17 West. See Map of Project Area.  If the action alternative is selected, proposed project activities could be implemented as early as the winter of 2022. 

What is the State Forest Land Management Plan?

The State Forest Land Management Plan (SFLMP) is the plan under which DNRC manages forested state trust lands.  DNRC developed the SFLMP in 1996 to provide field personnel with consistent policy and direction for the management of forested state trust lands.  The SFLMP provides the philosophical basis, technical rationale, and direction for DNRC’s forest management program. The SFLMP is premised on the philosophy that the best way to produce long-term income for the trust is to manage intensively for healthy and biologically diverse forests.  In the foreseeable future, timber management will continue to be the primary source of revenue and primary tool for achieving biodiversity objectives on forested state trust lands.

What are the Forest Management Rules?

The DNRC Forest Management Rules (ARM 36.11.401 through 456) are the specific legal resource management standards and measures under which DNRC implements the SFLMP and subsequently its forest management program.  The Rules were adopted in March 2003 and subsequently amended in 2020 to provide the legal framework for DNRC project-level decisions and provide field personnel with consistent policy and direction for managing forested state trust lands.  All forest management projects administered by DNRC on forested state trust lands must comply with the Forest Management Rules.

What is the Habitat Conservation Plan?

In December 2011, the Land Board approved the Record of Decision for the Montana DNRC Forested State Trust Lands HCP. Approval of the Record of Decision was followed by the issuance of an Incidental Take Permit by the U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The HCP is a required component of an application for a Permit which may be issued by the USFWS to state agencies or private citizens in situations where otherwise lawful activities might result in the incidental take of federally-listed species. The HCP is the plan under which DNRC conducts forest-management activities on select forested state trust lands while implementing specific mitigation requirements for managing the habitats of grizzly bear, Canada lynx, and three fish species: bull trout, westslope cutthroat trout, and Columbia redband trout.

What is the annual sustainable yield?

The annual sustainable yield (ASY) refers to one of DNRC’s fundamental management tools for conducting activities on forested state trust land.  The ASY is defined by statute as: “….the quantity of timber that can be harvested from forested state lands each year in accordance with all applicable state and federal laws, including but not limited to the laws pertaining to wildlife, recreation and maintenance of watersheds, and in compliance with water quality standards that protect fisheries and aquatic life and that are adopted under the provisions of Title 75, chapter 5, taking into account the ability of state forests to generate replacement tree growth” (77-5-221, MCA)DNRC is required by statute (77-5-221 – 223, MCA) to recalculate the ASY of forested state trust lands at least every 10 years.  Recalculating this often helps DNRC account for updated inventory data and volume lost to large scale fires, insect and disease outbreaks, and other factors.    

The ASY calculation determines the amount of timber that can be harvested annually on a sustainable basis from state trust lands.  Important ecological commitments from the SFLMP and Rules related to biodiversity, forest health, threatened and endangered species, riparian buffers, old growth, and desired species mix and covertypes are incorporated into the ASY calculation.  In 2020, the state-wide ASY was calculated to be 60.0 MMbf of timber.  

What is the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA)?

The Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA), passed in 1971, requires state agencies to consider the potential effects of state actions on the natural and social environment.  It is intended to foster sound decisions by state agencies and to ensure the public’s right to participate in state agency actions. MEPA has two central requirements:

State agencies must make a deliberate effort to consider the effects of their actions on the natural and social environment prior to making a decision.  The decisionmaker and the public should be well informed of the environmental impacts of the decision before the decision is made.

State agencies must ensure that the public is properly informed and offered opportunities to participate in the decision making process. In order to fully understand the potential issues associated with and effects resulting from state actions, agencies are directed to obtain the input of others. This is important because state government often makes decisions that can impact the environment or affect personal property rights or quality of life, and no one decisionmaker has all the answers.

For more MEPA information see Citizen’s Guide to Public Participation in Environmental Decision making.

What are some of the general issues identified by the public comment so far?

Transportation - new road construction, increase in the amount of road in the project area.

Aesthetics- impacts to view shed resulting from road construction and timber harvesting.

Vegetation – spread of noxious weeds, old growth, prescriptions.

Wildlife – decreased security cover, disturbance to migrations patterns, disturbance by harvest activities, habitat loss due to harvest activities.

Soils, Hydrology & Fisheries – detrimental soil disturbance, increased erosion rates from new road construction, potential sediment delivery to stream systems.

Economics – economic viability of the project and transparence.

Recreation – displacement of recreationists during logging, harvest adversely affecting user experience.

 

Is this a fuels reduction project? How will it affect fire suppression?

This project is being evaluated for economic return to the trust and the benefit of forest health for long term productivity and return to the trust.  Even so if a timber sale is pursued there will be an ancillary benefit of fuels reduction as a product of treatment.   That benefit could include changes in the forest cover and access that may provide opportunities for fire suppression activities.

 


 For information about the nearby Forest Service and Good Neighbor Authority project, Blackfoot Gold, click here