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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

New Kootenai Forest supervisor coming from Idaho Panhandle

PUBLIC LANDS — This is an unusually local transfer.  Usually new national forest supervisors come from some distance rather than from adjoining forests.  

Will familiarity be a boon?

USFS names new supervisor of Kootenai NF in Montana
Chris Savage, the new supervisor of the Kootenai National Forest in Montana, has a degree in watershed science from the University of Utah and spent five years of his Forest Service career as a hydrologist on the nearby Idaho Panhandle National Forest.
— Flathead Beacon

Pregnant caribou could drop state’s first calf in 50 years

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.

Forests adopt standards for motorized access to grizzly habitat

PUBLIC LANDS — The Idaho Panhandle, Kootenai and Lolo National Forests have adopted standards for motorized access within the Selkirk and Cabinet-Yaak Grizzly Bear Recovery Zones in a two year effort prompted by a 2006 court decision.

The Grizzly Bear Access Amendment makes no changes at specific sites. Changes to motorized access will be accomplished through separate, site specific NEPA analyses, including public comment and consultation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Panhandle National Forests officials say.

Implementing the standards across the recovery zones affecting Washington, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming is expected to take up to eight years, they said.

The Grizzly Bear Access Amendment sets standards for road density and percentage of core habitat for grizzly bears across 30 Bear Management Units (BMUs) within the recovery zones. This amendment is expected to continue the current downward trend of grizzly bear mortality on national forest system lands within the recovery zones, but could result in approximately 16 to 48 miles of currently open motorized routes being barriered and an additional 18 to 54 miles of open routes being gated once standards are fully implemented, officials said.

Kootenai Forest enacts food storage rules in bear country

CAMPING — The Kootenai National Forest, which manages the Cabinet Mountains of northwestern Montana and a portion of Idaho, has enacted stricter food storage rules to help prevent campers, hunters and cabin dwellers from luring bears in to trouble.

Storing food in a vehicle satisfies the rule for most campers.  But campers without hard-sided RVs or vehicles must take extra measures.

Details have been posted on the forest's website.

Bear resistant containers are required for campers in some cases.

Hanging food properly continues to be an option for backpackers and other backcountry campers.

The diagram at left indications how campers who must go light can meet the forest's "approved storage method."

Storing food in a bear resistant manner means hung 10 feet off the ground and four feet horizontally from a tree or other structure; stored in a hard-sided camper; vehicle trunk, or cab or trailer cab: in a hard-sided building, or stored using an electric fence.