The timber sale includes 13.8 million board feet of timber on about 1,319 acres, and is a component of the implementation plan for the Cabin Gulch Vegetation Treatment project. The contract will be for ground-based systems with an option to utilize a helicopter on approximately 521 acres.
“Implementing this project will help improve forest resiliency to wide-scale disturbances like insects epidemics—much like we experienced with the mountain pine beetle—disease outbreaks and large wildfires,” Forest Supervisor Kevin Riordan said. “The Cabin Gulch project also supports a forest products program that provides goods and services to local communities, and ultimately helps local economies and employment opportunities in more rural areas.”
In addition to timber harvest activities, a variety of management actions are planned within the Cabin project area, including: pre-commercial thinning, prescribed burning, road decommissioning and associated noxious weed treatments. All of these activities are designed to comprehensively restore and maintain forest health within these fire-dependent ecosystems. Along with the resource management benefits of this project, the Forest also aims to provide additional economic benefits to its surrounding communities.
“We have worked on the Cabin Gulch analysis for nearly eight years and I am confident that the comprehensive analyses that we have done for this project have provided us with an effective implementation strategy to begin this summer,” Riordan said. “We are pleased to begin the on-the-ground work that will move us forward to a more resilient and healthier forest.”
The decision for the Cabin Gulch Vegetation Treatment project was signed in March 2012; but was appealed and is being litigated by the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and the Native Ecosystem Council.
Although the litigation process is ongoing, the Forest filed documents with the District Court to proceed with implementation activities this summer. The Forest will respond to the Court’s ruling when it is released.
The advertisement for the Cabin Gulch timber sale contract will begin May 15th and a bid opening date is set for June 17th at the Helena National Forest Supervisor’s Office. Anticipated activities could begin as early as July with a contract termination date of September 30, 2018. For more information, visit our website at www.fs.usda.gov/helena/ or contact the Helena National Forest at 449-5201.