Posts tagged: Colville National Forests
PUBLIC LANDS — The South Sherman Road (FSR 2020000) has suffered an impassible washout on the west or upper end of the road, the Colville National Forest reports today.
The temporary closure will be from milepost 11.65 to milepost 11.85 (just off of U.S. Highway 20 near the top close to Sherman Pass between Kettle Falls and Republic).
Access to Barnaby Buttes Trailhead and the South Fork of Sherman Creek is still possible from the lower access point on Highway 20. Forest crews are anticipating being able to repair the washout this summer.
Info: Three Rivers Ranger District, (509) 738-7700.
WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT — Sinlahekin Wildlife Area manager Dale Swedberg doesn't just preach the gospel of rejuvenating wildlife habitat with controlled prescribed fires — he'll let you see for yourself.
A website with an eye-opening collection of photos compares historic photos of the Sinlanhekin Wildlife Area with photos of the same locations made in recent years.
While the northcentral Washington landscape near Loomis has been improved in some ways, the most glaring observation is the increase in tree cover due to fire supression in the past 90 years. Trees are good, but too many of them clogging the landscape eliminates the habitat diversity needed by wildlife.
Fire has been around as long as life because fire depends on living things to produce the fuels fire needs to exist. A person would think that there might be some important connections developed in such a long relationship. — Dale Swedberg
Resources for learning more about prescribed burns include:
TRAILS — A skilled group of skilled youths and other volunteers have prevailed after putting a week of sweat into the seemingly hopeless task of clearing blowdowns off the Big Lick Trail in the Kettle River Range.
The maze-like tangle of downfall had rendered the historic route impassable before volunteers from Kettle Range Conservation Group and Curlew Job Corps forestry students put in a herculean effort requiring seven days and 366 person hours to clear 5.5 miles of trail. The hundreds of blowdowns in some locations were piled into twisted trunks and branches more than 7 feet deep, said Tim Coleman, KRCG director.
“That’s a tremendous amount of hours and work, but thanks to the volunteers that organized work parties and the Curlew Job Corps crew that completed much of the heavy lifting to reopen this trail, the task got done this year,” said Eric McQuay, Recreation Program Manager for the West Zone of the Colville National Forest. “Without help from groups such as these, we simply couldn’t keep trails such as Big Lick maintained with the Forest Service’s limited trail maintenance budget,” he said.
Big Lick Trail is a historic Ferry County trail along North Fork St. Peter Creek and traversing the Kettle Range between Mt. Leona and Profanity Peak. It links the western side of the Kettle Range to the Kettle Crest / Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail and to Ryan’s Cabin Trail and S. Fork of Boulder Creek on the range’s eastern flanks. Historically, this route was used by fur trappers, market hunters, ranchers and prospectors, but more recently its use is primarily for backcountry recreation.
Read on for more details about this effort that serves everyone who uses and appreciates trails.
PUBLIC LANDS — The U.S. Forest Service has completed a 2.25 mile reroute of Forest Road 1935000 (Middle Branch of LeClerc Creek) north of Newport and east of the Pend Oreille River as part of a larger road relocation and restoration project to benefit water quality and fish habitat.
The re-routed section of road begins near the new bridge crossing of the Middle Branch of LeClerc Creek and has been relocated away from the bottom of the drainage in order to improve the riparian and stream habitat. The old section of road is currently being decommissioned and is no longer open to motor vehicle use. The decommissioning of the 2.6 miles of road along Middle Branch LeClerc Creek includes the removal of fish passage barriers at 4 locations, restoring the stream channel at each of those four stream crossings as well as floodplain re-establishment and re-contouring the road.
Read on for funding sources and details.
CAMPING — E. coli and fecal coliform bacteria was discovered Aug. 4 in the drinking water at the Pioneer Park Campground in Pend Oreille County.
Today Colville National Forest officials said the Newport Ranger District had notified guests who recently stayed at the campground if contact information was available.
No reports of illness had been received, they said.
While the campground three miles from Newport remains open, the drinking water system has been shut down while the Forest Service investigates the source of contamination.
Info: Contact the Newport Ranger District (509) 447-7300.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — Montana wildlife officials say a Canadian caribou has wandered into northwestern Montana for the second time this spring, and this one has the potential to make history.
Fish, Wildlife and Parks wildlife manager Jim Williams tells KCFW-TV the possibly pregnant cow is from a herd that biologists brought to British Columbia to augment an existing herd.
He says if the caribou gives birth, it would be the first known caribou birth in Montana in over 50 years.
A biologist in Libby is tracking the animal in the Purcell Mountains, near the Yaak River and anyone who spots a caribou is asked to report the sighting to FWP.
In late April, state wildlife officials located a collared caribou that was feared dead, got it medical treatment and returned it to Canada.
PUBLIC LANDS — The Colville National Forest has released a proposal to thin trees and decommission some roads in the Calispell Creek drainage southeast of 49 Degrees North Ski Area.
The public has until mid-April to comment on the environmental assessment for the proposed Power Lake Vegetation Management project.
Proposed treatments would include fish habitat improvement through decommissioning approximately 4 miles of road, replacing or removing 10 culverts, and commercial timber harvest and thinning on up to 8,000 acres to improve forest health and reduce fire danger while improving wildlife habitat.
In order to complete these treatments, temporary and new road will be constructed and approximately 2 miles of County Road 2022 (Middle Fork Calispell Creek Road) will be relocated onto County Road 2030 (Bartlett Road) and Forest Road 3500050 to improve fish habitat and water quality. Approximately 21 miles of currently closed roads in the project area are proposed to be decommissioned to protect resource values.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — Citing requests from Idaho’s governor, local governments and the Kootenay Tribe, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a 60-day extension for public comment on a proposal to designate critical habitat for woodland caribou in the Selkirk Mountains.
The federal agency made the announcement this morning along with scheduling a public hearing on the proposal for April 28 in Bonners Ferry.
The woodland caribou that range from North Idaho and a sliver of northeastern Washington north into British Columbia are listed as an endangered species.
Federal biologists have proposed designating 375,565 acres of high-elevation critical habitat in Idaho and Washington for the caribou. They say the designation would have little impact on protections that already are in place.
Idaho’s Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, and Boundary County officials asked for an extension to the comment period that was announced in November as well as additional opportunities for citizens to participate in public processes regarding the proposal, FWS officials said.
“We recognize the public’s interest in this issue and will work together to help citizens fully understand our proposal to designate critical habitat for caribou,” said Brian Kelly, the Service’s State Supervisor for Idaho.
FWS is re-opening the public comment period on the caribou proposal until May 21, 2012.
Read on for more details about the proposal and the public meeting in Bonners Ferry.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — Bonner County commissioners in Sandpoint have approved spending up to $10,000 as part of plan to have Selkirk Mountains woodland caribou taken off the federal endangered species list, according to a story moved by the Associated Press.
Commissioners last week unanimously approved a plan that involves a contract with the Pacific Legal Foundation, a public interest law firm that focuses on property rights. Commissioners also approved a memorandum of understanding that allows the public to contribute money to the effort.
“We're going to seek out donors,” Commissioner Mike Nielsen told the Bonner County Daily Bee.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1984 listed the caribou as a protected species. Woodland caribou, rarely-seen creatures with their antlers stand as tall as a man, are struggling to survive in the United States, precariously occupying one remote area of the Northwest as a final toehold in the Lower 48.
Continue reading, more from the AP:
SNOWMOBILING — The snowmobiling closure in the woodland caribou recovery zone along the crest of the Selkirk Mountains will be enforced this winter, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a press release issued this afternoon.
A free map of legal snowmobiling trails is available at Colville National Forest and Idaho Panhandle National Forests offices.
The caribou, listed as endangered in 1984, are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Their potential habitat also is protected. Only 50 or fewer of the caribou remain in Eastern Washington, North Idaho and southeastern British Columbia.
During the winter, the caribou feed primarily on lichens hanging from trees above snowline. The snowmobiling closure seeks to minimize disturbance to the caribou and avoid creating travel lanes that encourage lowland predators to reach the high country where the caribou roam.
The snowmobiling restrictions, which have been in place since 2007, will be enforced by federal agencies as well as state fish and wildlife agencies.