Forest Service Draft Decision on Gold Butterfly Project
Adding a modification to retain old growth trees, the Gold Butterfly draft decision has been chosen by Bitterroot National Forest Supervisor Matt Anderson. Anderson selected Alternative 2, modified and the project includes commercial timber harvest, non-commercial thinning and prescribed burning in the Sapphire Mountains east of Corvallis. The area is on both the Stevensville and Darby Ranger Districts between St. Clair Creek and Burnt Fork Creek. The Final Environment Impact Statement was also released.
Forest Service officials have designated over 9,000 acres for insect and disease treatment because of "dense pockets of dead and dying trees," caused by mountain pine beetle, Douglas-fir bark beetle, dwarf mistletoe and western spruce budworm. Tod McKay of the Bitterroot National Forest also noted that the area is a "high priority" area for fuels reduction in the Wildland Urban Interface, as deteremined by the Bitterroot Community Wildfire Protection Plan. More information is online and at the Stevensville Ranger Station and the Bitterroot National Forest Supervisor's Office. Objections can only be filed by those who previously submitted comments on the project and are due by August 2.