The project is designed to improve forest health and resiliency and protect the area’s large and distinctive pine trees from mountain pine beetles. Recent surveys in the area indicate pine beetle populations have increased from ‘moderate’ to ‘high hazard’.
Tree thinning isn’t expected to start until later this spring, depending on weather conditions. The contractor will wait until the ground dries out to begin operations. The project is scheduled to last all summer, with work concluding around October.
Earlier this month, the forest announced that Pyramid Mountain Lumber of Seeley Lake was awarded the timber stewardship contract. The project will provide nearly 4 million board feet of timber (1,100 truckloads) to Montana sawmills. It will also add four miles to existing trails within the National Forest trail system while also providing forest products, jobs, and income to the local economy.
The Bass Creek Recreation Area is one of the most popular areas on the forest, visited by more than 50,000 people annually. For more information on the project visit www.fs.usda.gov/bitterroot or contact the Stevensville Ranger District at (406) 777-5461.