“Know Before You Go” - take care when visiting forest lands near active timber sales

HELENA, Mont. (December 13, 2019) – With snowmobile season officially underway, officials on the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest are asking visitors to be aware of active timber harvest operations on the forest. Some roads are being plowed to accommodate log hauling from timber sales, and other roads may be closed for public safety while timber harvest operations are underway. Visitors should take care when operating snowmobiles or other equipment and drive defensively on Forest Service roads, as they are likely to encounter log truck traffic along hauling routes.

Several Forest Service roads on the Belt Creek-White Sulphur Springs Ranger District were closed last week in the Moose Creek and Daniels Creek areas for public safety during timber harvest operations. These roads, used as snowmobile trails during the winter, are being plowed and used to haul timber from sale units in the area. This closure is in effect weekdays from 12:01 a.m. on Monday through 5 p.m. on Friday, meaning visitors can recreate in the areas impacted by the closure on weekends. Visit bit.ly/HLC_MooseDaniels to read the official closure order.

“Many of our timber sale purchasers across the forest are still out working on their sale units, even with winter now underway,” said Carol Hatfield, Belt Creek-White Sulphur Springs District Ranger. “We are working to balance the needs and interests of these purchasers as well as our visitors who are excited to get outdoors to participate in their favorite winter recreation activities.”

The Belt Creek-White Sulphur Springs Ranger District is not the only place on the forest where snowmobile users need to be aware of ongoing timber operations. Roads in the Telegraph/Minnehaha area of the Helena Ranger District are also being plowed to accommodate timber hauling operations on the district. Although snow accumulation on the district is relatively low so far, visitors should be aware of any timber sales in the areas they plan to operate and know that there may be increased vehicle traffic or heavy equipment operation.

“National Forest System lands are open to a variety of uses, including both recreation and commercial timber harvest,” said Kathy Bushnell, Acting Helena District Ranger. “We want everyone spending time on their public lands to be safe and have a positive experience. For this reason, we ask visitors to be aware of area conditions and contact their local ranger district for any pertinent updates before heading out into the forest.”

Your local Forest Service ranger station or visitor center is your best source for the most up–to–date information about conditions, closures, and other happenings in the area you plan to visit. Locations and contact information for Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest offices is available online at www.fs.usda.gov/detail/hlcnf/about-forest/offices.



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