December 23, 2022
Hungry Horse Ranger District
PO Box 190340
Hungry Horse, MT 59919
Re: Dry Riverside Project Scoping
Dear Mr. Snelson,
The Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is a grassroots conservation organization representing more than 3,000 dues-paying members in the state. Our members value productive habitat, public access, and quiet recreational opportunities to hunt and fish. With many of our members living and recreating in northwest Montana, the Flathead National Forest is an area of prime interest. While elk herds remain at or above objective in many other parts of the state, elk in FWP's Region 1 are still struggling to meet population objectives. Habitat quality has been cited as one of the greatest impediments to growing our elk herd in this area. Forest projects like this that enhance habitat will go a long way in protecting the future of our elk herd, fostering a healthy ecosystem, and creating more opportunities for hunters.
Recent years have seen drier and hotter than normal summers as well. Large, high-intensity fires have become common. Proactive, prescribed burning combined with selective thinning will lead to the project area having a healthy mix of fire-resistant species such as Douglas fir and Western larch. We encourage USFS to work with Montana FWP to maximize the habitat enhancement aspect of this project as fully as possible.
Overall, Montana BHA is supportive of this project. We appreciate the minimal road densities and the decision to utilize roads at the "minimum standards necessary" to complete the project, along with the temporary roads being "rehabilitated following timber harvest." This will ensure that the area returns to a productive habitat with quiet recreational opportunities.
We appreciate the opportunity to comment
Flathead Valley Leader
Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers