Snow Pack

Clouds sit over the Bridger Mountains near Bozeman, Montana, in this Jan. 10, 2017, photo.

Forest officials are seeking public comment on a logging project in the Bridger and Bangtail mountains northeast of Bozeman.

The Forest Service wants to cut down trees on about 2,300 acres in the Bridger Mountains north of Bridger Bowl Ski Area and in the Bangtail Mountains east of there.

Forest officials have held public meetings and field trips to the area over the past few months. A full proposal was released Wednesday.

The proposed project area begins about 13 miles northeast of Bozeman. It includes land near Battle Ridge Campground, Fairy Lake and on the slopes below Ross Pass. It also proposes work in the Bangtail Mountains, east of Grassy Mountain.

The Forest Service’s proposal says the area is likely to be susceptible to tree-killing insect and disease outbreaks in the future.

Logging on the 2,300 acres would be split between different types of clear cuts, thinning and group selection, according to the proposal. About 1,500 acres of that is slated for thinning, while 680 acres are slated for different levels of clear cuts. The proposal also includes some temporary roads.

Forest officials are proposing the work under a Farm Bill provision that allows logging projects aimed at removing trees that are susceptible to tree-killing insects or disease. Nearly 5 million acres in Montana fall under that provision.

Environmentalists have sued over a project in the northern portion of the Crazy Mountains that the Forest Service proposed under the same legal provision.

The Forest Service conducted a 250 acre logging project south of Bridger Bowl in 2015. Environmentalists sued over that project but a federal judge decided in favor of the Forest Service. 

Public comment will be open until Jan. 3. Comments can be sent by email to comments-northern-gallatin@fs.fed.us. Hard copies can be mailed to the Bozeman Ranger District at 3710 Fallon St., Suite C, Bozeman, MT, 59718.

Michael Wright can be reached at mwright@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2638. Follow him on Twitter @mj_wright1.

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