Logging

Aspens and trees burned in the Bridger Foothills Fire are set against the snow-topped Bridger Mountains on Oct. 15, 2020, off Highway 86.

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Road work for a logging project just north of the Bridger Bowl Ski Area is starting this week, federal officials announced Wednesday.

Road maintenance, temporary road construction and logging operations for the North Bridgers Forest Health Project are scheduled to begin soon, officials from the Custer Gallatin National Forest’s Bozeman Ranger District said in a news release.

The North Bridgers project calls for approximately 2,300 acres of work spread out over a 10,200 acre area in the Bridger range. Work is occurring on plots scattered around Fairy Lake, Brackett Creek and Grassy Mountain.

Foresters plan around 670 acres of patch cuts and clear cuts, 90 acres of group selection harvests, 1,020 acres of thinning and aspen work and 520 acres of pre-commercial thinning for the project area.

Approximately 9.5 miles of temporary road will be constructed so workers can access the treatment units. Those roads will be decommissioned within three years of the project being completed, according to the Forest Service.

Officials hope to reduce the susceptibility of trees to insects and disease and reduce fuel build-up that can contribute to high-intensity wildfires. The project is also meant to protect structures in the wildland urban interface and support local mills and economies, according to the Forest Service.

“The project is an important collaborative forest health project, between the Custer Gallatin National Forest and the Custer Gallatin Working Group,” Bozeman District Ranger Corey Lewellen said in the release.

People should expect to see more traffic, construction and logging equipment in the North Bridgers as the work goes on. Logs will be hauled along Fairy Lake and South Brackett Creek roads.

The public will be alerted to any closures, the Forest Service wrote. It anticipates the work will continue through January 2022.

“We’re looking forward to starting implementation of the project, which protects wildlife, recreational opportunities, and other important resources within the project area,” Lewellen said. “It also addresses needs of national, regional and forest direction including insect and disease treatment as part of the Healthy Forest Restoration Act.”

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Helena Dore can be reached at hdore@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2628.

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