BLM advises of logging traffic near McAllister, Sheridan

The Bureau of Land Management’s Dillon Field Office is advising the public that logging operations from a timber sale in the southern Tobacco Root Mountains are underway.

As part of the South Tobacco Roots Phase 1 Timber Sale, logging trucks will be hauling on South Meadow Creek Road, East Fork of Granite Creek Road and Wisconsin Creek Road, according to BLM.  The East Fork Granite Creek/South Meadow Creek haul route includes segments of U.S. Forest Service roads and the main County Road to Highway 287 at McAllister.  This harvest has already begun. The Wisconsin Creek haul route includes BLM roads on the Noble Fork and Wisconsin Creek roads, and the main County Road to Highway 287 near Sheridan. This harvest is likely to begin in mid to late November.

R-Y Timber, Inc. of Townsend has subcontracted the harvest to several Montana logging contractors, Kipper Blotkamp, BLM Forester, said. He added that R-Y Timber has obtained Road Use Agreements to use roads not managed by the BLM.

“The logging contractor is required to, and has, posted signs where trucks are entering the main named roads,” Blotkamp said. “The harvest units, are located on land managed by the BLM and are not near private residences.”

These operations will be in effect through early winter and are weather dependent. The public is advised to use caution when traveling these roads, which are all open to the public, and to watch for heavy equipment.  Blotkamp said open routes near the harvest units are still available for public use, but short delays of up to 30 minutes are possible.

The 2007 South Tobacco Roots Environmental Assessment identified forest health and fuels management as primary issues for the harvest units and a range of alternatives were analyzed to address the issue and improve public land health.

“The objectives of the environmental assessment are to restore and/or maintain historic density, structure and species composition with emphasis on reducing juniper and Douglas-fir expansion in former grass/sage dominated communities; increase resiliency to insects, disease, drought and wildland fire; more effectively control wildfire, especially in Wildland Urban Interface areas; maintain and enhance existing aspen stands and promote successful regeneration of aspen; and, where possible, salvage dead or dying forest stands from epidemic insect activity and treat remaining stands,” Blotkamp said.

Blotkamp added that the selected alternative included using mechanical treatments, commercial timber harvest and prescribed fire to meet the objectives, where feasible and permitted. For more information, contact Blotkamp at 683-8000.

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