An open house and field tour will be held January 27 to familiarize people with the proposed landscape level project area. The integrated project encompasses 73,250 acres; of which approximately 8,200 acres are proposed for treatment including thinning, followed by piling, burning, chopping and/or masticating of natural and activity fuels and/or prescribed burning. Focused around several subdivisions and essential infrastructure and in the Tepee Drainage, treatments are proposed in order to: improve public and firefighter safety by reducing fuel in the wildland urban interface, enhance wildlife habitat by revitalizing aspen and whitebark pine, improve public and wildlife safety by opening up visibility near the Rainbow Point Campground and along Highway 191, and to increase forest health and resiliency.
Stands in the area are susceptible to dangerous and damaging fire behavior due to the combination of surface fuel loading and continuous vegetation into the canopy, known as ladder and crown fuels. A variety of treatments are designed to reduce surface, ladder and crown fuels, such as thinning and group selection harvest. Portions of the treatment area would be thinned decreasing competition for key species such as whitebark pine and Douglas fir. Aspen stands would be opened up, reducing the conifer encroachment and increasing vigor and the likelihood of natural sprouting amongst these habitats. Along Highway 191 sight distance will be improved through thinning, helping to alleviate wildlife and vehicle collisions common in the area.
Mountain pine beetle, western spruce budworm, lodgepole pine dwarf mistletoe, Douglas fir beetle and white pine blister rust are also of concern in the project area. These natural and introduced disturbance factors
can have a significant impact in similar or uniform age class species. A variety of treatments are planned to increase resiliency to insect and disease in some stands and reduce or eliminate presence of damaging agents in other stands.
Public comment will be open for 30 days and comments can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org; subject line North Hebgen Integrated Vegetation Management Project, with commenter’s name, address and contact number. Comments are considered part of public record. To attend the open house and field trip on January 27 meet at Hebgen Lake Ranger District, West Yellowstone, MT at 2:00 p.m. The field trip will depart to various locations in the project area, please anticipate carpooling where possible or traveling in your own vehicle. The open house will follow the field tour from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. at the West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce. To download and read project documents visit online at: www.fs.usda.gov/gallatin and click on the right-hand quicklink: NEPA and Public Scoping Documents.