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A forest management project near Corvallis is moving forward

 Map of the Gold Butterfly Project vicinity.
Bitterroot National Forest
Map of the Gold Butterfly Project vicinity.

The Bitterroot National Forest is again moving forward with a logging and prescribed burn project east of Corvallis.

The agency released another draft record of decision for the Gold Butterfly Project Friday. The forest service withdrew a previous draftafter two environmental groups sued to stop it. The groups argued, in part, that the project didn’t follow guidelines for managing old-growth woods.

The latest version of the plan uses an updated definition of old growth.

Stevensville District Ranger Steve Brown says adopting this newer definition is a procedural shift that won’t change the project work.

“The things that make them old growth will remain," he said. "But we will be doing some thinning because part of the reason for this project is to reduce the risk of insects, disease and catastrophic fire.”

The forest services’ objectives of the project are also to improve habitat and manage the timber to create jobs and income for local communities.

Advocacy group Friends for the Bitterroot, which initially sued over the project,says it harms species navigating climate change.
Copyright 2021 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Corin Cates-Carney is the Flathead Valley reporter for MTPR.