MTPR

U.S. Forest Service

At a campground in northwestern Montana, 30 people are groggily gearing up for a day of mushroom picking.

Most are here because they want an excuse to get outside and taste some of Montana's more exotic wild mushrooms. But others, like Matt Zaitz from Kansas, are here to turn a profit.

"It's not easy work," Zaitz says. "It's tough."

Weyerhaeuser closed its lumber and plywood mills in Columbia Falls last week.
Eric Whitney

A job at the lumber mills in Columbia Falls was supposed to be the kind of job you’d have forever. But forever came to an end last Friday, when the Weyerhaeuser Company sawed its last logs at its lumber and plywood mills in the industrial heart of the Flathead Valley. The mills had been open since the late 1940s.

Hotshot teams from around Montana gathered to pay tribute to Justin Beebe on Saturday, August 20, 2016
Mara Silvers

Beneath a giant American Flag, a dozen green hotshot crew carriers from around Montana sat with their lights flashing outside Ogren Stadium in Missoula on Saturday morning to honor Justin Beebe.

Beebe was a Lolo Hotshot who died fighting the Strawberry Fire in Nevada last Saturday. He is the only U.S. Forest Service firefighter to die in the line of duty this year.

 A crew member from Ronan and Associates climbs a whitebark pine tree to collect cones at Whitefish Mountain Resort.
Nicky Ouellet

Whitebark pine is a species on the brink of endangerment. If whitebark go, several species of wildlife, including grizzly bears, will lose a significant food source. But researchers are slowly piecing together how to harness the tree’s natural defenses to preserve it.

Conservationists threw a party Saturday to celebrate permanent land protections in the Haskill Basin watershed east of Whitefish.

An arial view of the Pole and Fine fires burning southwest of Ennis.
Beaverhad-Deerlodge National Forest

Fire officials say they expect the thousand-acre Observation fire southwest of Hamilton to continue spreading, because the fire is moving west into “rugged, inaccessible terrain.” There’s a public meeting about the fire tonight at 7:00 at the community center in Darby.

 

 The Northern Region of the U.S. Forest Service has a new director of Fire, Aviation and Air.

Ralph Rau will oversee fire management programs spanning 25 million acres of forests and grasslands in Montana, northern Idaho, North Dakota and part of South Dakota.

Weyerhaeuser closed its lumber and plywood mills in Columbia Falls last week.
Eric Whitney

Wednesday’s announcement that Weyerhaeuser will close its Columbia Falls lumber and plywood mills, along with its administrative offices, brought an avalanche of reaction -- none of it good.

Flathead National Forest to update forest plan, seeks public input
Nicky Ouellet

The forest in the Flathead is about to see some big changes – or not. It all depends on how proposed changes to the Flathead’s National Forest Plan shake out.

The candidates for Montana’s lone seat in the U.S. House today both sought to make news out of their positions on control of federal public lands.
Josh Burnham (CC-BY-NC-2)

The candidates for Montana’s lone seat in the U.S. House today both sought to make news out of their positions on control of federal public lands.

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