The environmental analysis process for the Tie Flume Vegetation Management Project on the Tongue Ranger District is complete. This includes the objection process on the draft Decision Notice. With that completion, the Final Decision Notice has been signed and posted for public viewing.
According to a Forest Service press release, the purpose of the project is to implement the 2005 Bighorn National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan – forest plan – through a variety of vegetation treatments, wildlife habitat improvements, and travel management objectives.
The need for the project is to change the existing condition of the landscape to the desired condition described in the forest plan. The selected action is the proposed action, which includes approximately 2,000-3,500 acres of commercial harvest and 1,700 acres of precommercial thinning. Other actions include prescribed burns, aspen and riparian meadow restoration, fish habitat improvement, and changes to roads and trails.
Changes to roads and trails include the following:
1) addition of a one mile new motorized system trail;
2) conversion of six and a half miles of open, high-clearance system roads to closed (two miles) or non-motorized trail (four and a half miles) to prevent elk security habitat loss and to improve hunting success;
3) decommissioning of ten and a half miles of existing closed roads.
The decision will not change or impact over-snow vehicle use within the project area. The 47,500-acre project area is centered at Township 55 North, Range 88 West, Section 22 and is located southeast and southwest of the junction of U.S. Highways 14 and 14a.
“The Tie Flume Project will make great strides to improve forest conditions and wildlife habitat in the project area,” Andrew Johnson, Bighorn National Forest Supervisor said. “While I recognize not all aspects of this decision are satisfactory to everyone, District Ranger Ormseth is making the right decision for these National Forest resources. I encourage the public to stay engaged with the Bighorn National Forest on future projects like this.”
Implementation of the vegetation treatments may begin as early as this year. Other project implementation, including prescribed burning, road closures and decommissioning, and wildlife and fish habitat work, will not likely start until 2021 or later.
More information about the project and a copy of the final decision is available on the Bighorn’s website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=54192 or by contacting Christopher D. Jones at 307-674-2627 or firstname.lastname@example.org.