Two conservation groups are suing the U.S. Forest Service in an attempt to stop the controversial Black Ram logging project in far northwest Montana.
The project is a mix of commercial logging, thinning and prescribed burning in the Kootenai National Forest. The groups, Alliance for the Wild Rockies and the Native Ecosystems Council, specifically take issue with the project’s impacts on grizzly bears, a species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. They argue that the project will destroy grizzly habitat with logging, prescribed burning and road building, in violation of the act.
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“Stretching from the Canadian border to the Yaak River, the Black Ram decision authorized clear-cutting on an estimated 2,442 acres, 1,460 acres of additional commercial logging, 7,034 acres of burning, 3.5 miles of new road construction and reconstruction of 90.3 miles of existing logging roads — in spite of the fact that most grizzly bears are killed near roads,” Mike Garrity, the Alliance’s executive director, wrote of the lawsuit Monday. “Alarmingly, the Black Ram Project allows 2,199 acres of slashing and/or burning in the most secure habitat for grizzly