Montana’s Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks on Friday doubled the public comment period on a proposal to log, thin and burn 1,500 acres of a wildlife management area northeast of Ovando.
The proposed Doney Lake Forest Habitat Improvement Project is drawing scrutiny from conservationists who worry the project will damage important grizzly habitat. Jason Parke, an FWP wildlife habitat biologist and co-lead on the project, said on Friday that multiple public comments asking for an extension of the original 15-day comment window led the agency to add 15 more days. The decision was made Friday, he said, and would be updated online and in public notices. The comment period will now close on Feb. 3, instead of Jan. 19.
The project, set to begin this July, takes place within the Ovando Mountain Unit of the Blackfoot Clearwater Wildlife Management Area about 5 miles northeast of Ovando in Powell County. That’s north of Doney Lake and between Dick Creek on the west and Spring Creek on the east. Work is proposed for low-angle land around the southern and southwestern base of Ovando Mountain, but not on the steeper slopes of the mountain itself.