Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Cyclone Bill forest management project seeks public comment

by Whitefish Pilot
| March 15, 2023 1:00 AM

Last week the Flathead National Forest announced the beginning of the Cyclone Bill Project to reduce tree densities and fuel loadings, improve diversity and resilience of vegetative communities and contribute to continued timber production and economic sustainability. The project area is located on the Tally Lake Ranger District, on the northwest side of the Flathead Valley, about 13 miles west of Whitefish.

The Forest says opportunities exist in the project area to manage the forest stands to reduce dense stands of trees and accumulated fuels within the wildland-urban interface to decrease the likelihood of stand replacing fire, while diversifying plant and tree communities and increasing the presence of ponderosa pine, western larch and western white pine. Project treatment would provide a mix of forest products for local economies as well as maintaining and increasing the presence of large size classes of trees, which could also help maintain low levels of insect and disease activity in the project area.

The project activities include about 9,600 acres of commercial timber harvest and about 4,800 acres of noncommercial vegetation treatments, including thinning and prescribed burning. The project would add approximately 15 miles of road to the National Forest System and 3 miles of temporary road.

Portions of the Cyclone Bill project area were identified as priority areas for focused attention on fuels reduction in the 2020 Montana Forest Action Plan, which evaluated the current conditions of Montana’s forests and created a strategic approach to identify opportunities to improve forest health and reduce wildfire risk to communities, prioritize actions to conserve wildlife, protect watersheds, build community resilience and maintain a strong and diverse recreation, wood products and tourist economy.

Comments on this project will be accepted through April 7, 2023 and will be used to refine the proposed activities and conduct the environmental analysis for this project.

A preliminary proposed action, descriptions of the management activities, and project area map is available on the project page, as well as instructions on how to provide comments on the project:


Please contract Kira Powell at kira.powell@usda.gov or (406)758-3508 with questions.

Recent Headlines