The U.S. Forest Service Northern Region encompasses 25 million acres and is spread over 5 states. Included are 12 National Forests located within the perimeter of northeastern Washington, northern Idaho, and Montana; and the National Grasslands in North Dakota and northwestern South Dakota.
As a place for individuals and families to enjoy the outdoors, the Northern Region's public lands offer hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, skiing, kayaking, and countless other adventures. These very special areas protected from development offer the ability to escape the crowds of the city and encounter nature at its best - to experience the solitude and challenges of wildlands.
Regional Forester Leanne Marten and Nora Rasure, her counterpart from the Intermountain Region, addressed the Idaho Forest Restoration Partnership this week in Boise, ID. A statewide coalition of collaborative groups, the partnership hosts an annual workshop to foster an exchange of ideas, challenges and successes among the groups. This years workshop entitled "Facing the Fire: New Tools and Science for Resilient Rorests" inspired robust interaction on the insect and disease designations and Good Neighbor Authority from the 2014 Farm Bill, Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration projects, and the latest science on the magnitude of restoration needs and considerations for post-fire management options.
The Northern (Region 1) and Intermountain (Region 4) Regions of the Forest Service are moving quickly and diligently to implement the Insect & Disease. The nation's forests are experiencing larger and more frequent insect and disease outbreaks, as well as increased length and severity of fire seasons as a result of climate change. By focusing on stemming insect and disease outbreaks and creating forests that are more resilient to future changes in climate, we can better protect the many benefits our nation's forests provide, such as drinking water and recreation opportunities for citizens, wildlife habitat for hundreds of species, forest products, carbon sequestration and many others.
Amendment to incorporate relevant direction from the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem Grizzly Bear Conservation Strategy into the forest plans for the Helena, Kootenai, Lewis and Clark, and Lolo National Forests:
The planning team is using public comments and identified issues to refine the proposed action and build alternatives. Once the analysis is completed, a draft environmental impact statement will be issued. The Forest Service plans to have this document available by January 2016. Once the draft environmental impact statement is issued there will be a 90-day comment period.