Forest Seeks Comments on Project

Release Date: Jun 15, 2017  

Contact(s): Tod McKay, (406) 363-7122

Hamilton, Montana – The Bitterroot National Forest is inviting the public to review and make comments on a proposed vegetation management and fuels reduction project in the Sapphire Mountains east of Corvallis.  The Gold Butterfly Project proposes harvest and thinning, slash piling, and prescribed burning on approximately 10,500 acres of overstocked National Forest System lands between Burnt Fork and St. Clair Creek on the east side of the Bitterroot Valley.

Objectives of the project include:

  • Improve forest resilience to natural disturbances (fire, insects, and diseases).
  • Manage timber to provide forest products, jobs and income to local communities.
  • Reduce chronic sediment sources in Willow Creek and Burnt Fork of the Bitterroot River watersheds to improve water quality and bull trout habitat.
  • Restore or improve key habitats such as meadows, aspen, and whitebark pine.

Proposed treatments include commercial timber harvest, non-commercial thinning, and prescribed burning to improve forest health.

Approximately 9,500 acres of the project have been designated an insect and disease treatment area due to dense pockets of dead and dying trees.  The area is impacted by mountain pine beetle, Douglas-fir bark beetle and dwarf mistletoe and western spruce budworm damage. 

The Bitterroot Community Wildfire Protection Plan also identified the area as a ‘high priority’ for fuels reduction within the Wildland Urban Interface.  

The project includes road improvements, construction, decommissioning, and storage of routes.  Most of the roads proposed for decommissioning are already closed to motorized use.

The collaborative project is proposed under the Healthy Forest Restoration Act (HFRA) as amended by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill).

To learn more about the project and to view maps visit  Click on ‘NEPA Projects’.  Public comments are due by July 10, 2017.   

Only individuals or entities who submit timely and specific written comments about the proposed project during the public comment period will be eligible to file an objection. 

Submit comments to the Responsible Official: Tami Sabol, District Ranger, by one of the following methods; mail: 88 Main Street, Stevensville, MT 59870. Fax: (406) 777-7423, or email:  Comments should include:  1) name, address, phone number, and organization represented, if any; 2) title of project on which the comments are being submitted; and 3) substantive comments including specific facts and supporting information for the District Ranger to consider. 

For more information contact project leaders Sara Grove at (406) 375-2608 or or Marilyn Wildey at (406) 363-7101 or

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