The Flathead National Forest Plan revision process has been underway for several years now, and FAMB has spent hundreds of hours following the process, attending meetings, keeping you in the loop, and doing everything we can to shape the direction of the Plan. Many of you submitted comments to the Forest Service as well, which we believe had a real impact on the results.
The Flathead National Forest recently released its new forest plan, and we're pleased to announce that it's looking good for mountain biking in the Flathead! The Plan that has been released will govern everything that happens on the Flathead National Forest for years to come. While the process isn't completed, we expect the final plan won't change much with respect to bike access.
-The Plan includes "front country" areas that are designated as appropriate for recreation, including building new trails. These areas include the forests to the north of Columbia Falls and to the north of Whitefish, around the the Foys to Blacktail trail, near Tally Lake, and near Crane Mountain to the south of Bigfork.
-FAMB pushed for new trail construction in the southern Whitefish Range. In addition to the front country designations, the plan specifically calls for new trails to be built north of Columbia Falls and Whitefish, and we're already working towards realizing that goal.
-We lobbied to keep key trails outside of recommended wilderness areas to preserve bike access. This includes a variety of trails in the Swan Valley, trails near Jewel Basin, and trails along the Whitefish Divide.
-No major trails will be closed. Alpine 7, Columbia, the Whitefish Divide, and trails in the Tally area will all remain open to bikes.
-The Plan maintains appropriate protections to ensure the forest will be alive and healthy for future generations, which we support wholeheartedly.
Overall, while there's always more we could wish for, the Forest Plan sets up the potential for decades of improved mountain bike opportunities in the Flathead. Thank you all for your efforts in this endeavor!!
Make your voice heard! Submit your comments by August 13
The Forest Service is proposing to adopt and improve the Desert Mountain and Lion Lake trails near Coram as part of a larger timber management project. You might remember a call for comments on this earlier in the year - now the Forest Service has completed their environmental analysis, so it's up for comment again.
Show your support for the trails and submit comments indicating that you want the trails included in the forest trail system! Comments can be addressed to District Ranger Rob Davies, and can be emailed, with subject line "Hungry Lion Information" to: email@example.com
If you want to read more on the topic, or look at maps of the project, there's more info here.
FAMB submitted the following comment:
Dear District Ranger Davies,
Please accept these comments regarding the Environmental Assessment for the Hungry Lion Resource Management Project. Flathead Area Mountain Bikers (FAMB) supports the inclusion of the Lion Lake and Desert Mountain trails into the forest trail system. As such, FAMB supports alternatives 2 and 4 with respect to recreation. FAMB does not take any position on the road building, fuels treatment, or vegetation management aspects of alternatives 2 and 4.
As previously discussed, FAMB continues to be interested in assisting in the maintenance and upkeep of the Lion Lake and Desert Mountain trails, and we look forward to working with you and your excellent staff to ensure those trails provide a quality recreational experience for mountain bikers as well as other trail users.
FAMB is excited to announce the commencement of the 2017 Great Fish Community Challenge. From now until September 15, 2017, donors can make tax-deductible contributions to FAMB to support its Armory Park Pump Track project. Site prep is complete, the City has approved our project proposal, and we will be bringing in fill dirt, leveling the site, and installing irrigation during the latter half of Summer 2017. Pump track construction will be completed during the Fall of 2017. But first, we need your support! Donate to FAMB during this year's Great Fish Challenge and we have the opportunity to be awarded matching funds! Which means your donation dollar goes the extra mile. Help us make this fun and exciting community resource a reality!
Public comments for the Taylor Hellroaring Project are due on Friday April 28, 2017. This is a proposal to build a new network of trails on the Whitefish Face, to the north and west of Whitefish Mountain Resort. These trails would connect to the existing trails on Whitefish Mountain Resort and to the Whitefish Trail as well as to the network of trails to the north of the resort. FAMB has been instrumental in crafting this proposal and strongly supports this project.
Below are the full comments to be submitted by FAMB concerning the Taylor Hellroaring Project on the Flathead National Forest. The project includes a proposal for building a new trail network to the north and west of Whitefish Mountain Resort, as well as various logging operations and fuels reductions in the same area. FAMB supports this project, and feels that the proposed trails would be a tremendous asset to the community. Please submit your comments in support of the project today!
The Ten Lakes Wilderness Study Area area near Eureka represents some of the best backcountry mountain biking opportunities in the region. Access to high alpine trails and lakes with fantastic mountains and scenery make the area unique, but the Kootenay National Forest has released a draft environmental impact statement that proposes drastic restrictions on mountain bike access.
When the Montana Wilderness Study Act was passed in 1977 none of the authors would have imagined that these areas would remain in limbo 40 years later. The House of Representatives Report from the 95th congress states,
To avoid tying up this large acreage in wilderness study status for longer than is necessary, the committee suggests that the Secretary of Agriculture give a high priority to the completion of all nine studies within a period of 24 to 30 months (or less)…
Come Get RAD!
Come join us at Bonsai on Friday, October 7 to raise money for FFT's Armory Park Pump Track project! FFT hopes to break ground on a new pump track on the current site of the dirt jumps in Armory Park in Whitefish in the Spring of 2017. This project would be great for the town of Whitefish and will especially benefit our kids.
Flathead Fat Tires is working to bring a pump track to Whitefish!
Mountain bike access to some of the best trails in the area are at risk! Your help is needed!
The Flathead National Forest is working on revising the Forest Plan – the document that guides all use within the local forests. Trails like Alpine No. 7 are at risk of being closed to bikes, but we’re fighting to not only preserve access, but also improve it.
We’re asking anyone who likes riding bikes in the forest to submit comments regarding the plan to make sure we have support for bikes on trails into the future. We strongly urge you to submit your comments here and support the continued (and improved!) access for bikes in our national forests!
The deadline is October 3rd, so send in your comments today!