"It does not require a majority to prevail, 
but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds."
 --Samuel Adams - Leader in our Fight for Independence






KIPZ has released the Draft Forest Plan.  The deadline for comments was August 10, 2006

This planning process began in 2002  and is still not completed in June/2009.  No recent revision documents have been released and there is no indication of when they will be.  I doubt that the FS even knows when they will complete this process that was due to be completed in 2000 -  every 15 years according to law.  

Wilderness On Again?

The new KNF supervisor left some hints in an interview with Michael Jamision of the Missoulian that he may reverse Bob Castenada's decision to not recommend areas for wilderness but place them in a special KNF protected de-facto wilderness management category.   THIS WOULD OVERTURN THE SMALL VICTORY WE WON WHEN CASTENADA MOVED THESE LANDS FROM RECOMMENDED WILDERNESS TO WILDLANDS.   

Supervisor Paul Bradford mentioned the thousands of form letters from environmental groups that  KNF received urging wilderness recommendation.  This is another example of how important it is to keep up the pressure on the agencies.  These will battles will go on and on until one side gives up or is completely defeated.

 These documents are now available from the Kootenai Forest Office in Libby, MT. Write to:
USDA Forest Service
ATTN: KIPZ Revision Team
1101 U.S. Hwy. 2 West
 Libby, MT 59923 

or email to r1_kipz_revision@fs.fed.us   You can view the documents on the Kootenai website at www.fs.fed.us/kipz  You can also find at link at that site to the notes and input statements of the Kootenai working groups. 


Phase of Planning



Scoping Under 1982 Planning Rule

April 30, 2002

Notice of Intent published in Federal Register

March, 2003

Completed Analysis of the Management Situation (link to AMS document)(AMS).

May, 2002 - May 2004

Public scoping, included Open Houses, Public meetings and Workgroup Sessions. Continued government-to-government consultation and meetings with state and other federal agencies.

Transition to 2005 Planning Rule

May 12, 2005

Regional Forester Decision to switch to the 2005 Planning Rule

Work with the public to discuss and refine our Draft Forest Plans

July – August 31, 2005

Collaborative workgroup meetings (link to GA’Workgroup main page) to understand the planning process under the 2005 Planning Rule and validate and discuss possible changes to the Starting Option proposal.

Sept – October, 2005

Collaborative meetings to share information and discuss the Monitoring Program, Environmental Management System (EMS) and the comprehensive Evaluation Report (CER)

90-Day Comment Period

February 2006

Release Draft Forest Plans; Begin 90-day Comment Period

Final Forest Plans


On hold pending outcome of legal actions



On hold pending outcome of legal actions

In 2002 the KNF held public meetings in several locations around the forest to take the public pulse on some key planning issues.  The meetings were well attended.  Dozens of issue statements made by attendees were eventually collected from these meetings.  At these meetings, the public was given 5 colored stickers to place next to issue statements that they favored.  The results were tabulated.  You can see the results >>>>HERE and our summary at >>>>Public Input 

Working Groups were formed from sign up sheets at these meetings.  These groups met for months formulating Desired Future Condition statements covering the six primary planning issues in their geographic area on the forest.  The groups were told that their DFCs would be used to help build a set of alternatives.  

When the Regional Forester decided to use the new regulations, the KIPZ put together a "Starting Option" and reconvened the working groups to comment on the SO.  MFMU attended several meetings in LIbby in the first round and several more in Eureka in the second.  

KNF released the Draft Forest Plan Map in October, 05.  Three important changes were made to the Starting Option. 

  1. The recommended wilderness management areas were replaced by a WildLands MA.  Actual management prescriptions are essentially the same but it is not called wilderness and there are no legal precedents to cause problems with management of "wildlands" areas.  Presumably, KNF will have more flexibility, ie. ability to amend the WildLands MA.   Even the recommended wilderness areas from the old forest plan were replaced with this MA description.

  2. A new backcountry MA (5c) was created for snowmobile use.  Summer motorized use is prohibited in these areas.

  3. All general forest MAs were lumped together.

To learn more about KIPZ public comment go to >>>>Public Input

Management Area Descriptions

KIPZ has put together a summary of the new management area descriptions.

1a    Designated Wilderness   
These areas have been designated by Congress as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System.

1b    Recommended Wilderness    
These areas are managed to protect their wilderness characteristics until Congressional action is taken.

1c   Wilderness Study Areas  *
These areas were Congressionally designated as a Wilderness Study Areas in the Montana Wilderness Study Act of 1977

1d    WildLands

2a    Designated Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers   ** 
These areas are river segments that Congress or the Secretary of Interior has designated as part of the Wild and Scenic Rivers System

2b    Eligible and Suitable Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers  
These areas are river segments that have been identified as being eligible or suitable for inclusion as part of the Wild and Scenic Rivers System

3    Special Interest Areas  **
Special Interest Areas (SIAs) are managed to protect or enhance, and where appropriate, foster public use and enjoyment of areas with scenic, historical, geological, botanical, zoological, palentological, or other valuable and unique resources.  Ten Lakes and Northwest Peak SIAs will have management plans developed at a later date.  These areas are scenic and/or recreation SIAs.

4a    Established and Proposed Research Natural Areas  
Research Natural Areas (RNAs) form a long-term network of ecological reserves designated for non-manipulative research, education, and the maintenance of biodiversity.

4b    Experimental Forests

5a    Backcountry - non-motorized  
These areas are primarily comprised of lands throughout the forest without roads and/or lands where non-motorized opportunities are desired.

5b   Backcountry  
These areas are comprised of relatively large areas without roads.  ...These areas may allow winter and/or summer motorized recreation opportunities.

5c  Backcountry Winter Motorized
Areas where snowmobiling will be allowed but summer motorized use will be prohibited.

6    General Forest   
These areas provide for watershed and vegetative restoration and a variety of goods and services, including timber and other forest products, visual quality, and recreational opportunities. Watershed and vegetative restoration are accomplished predominantly through active management that emulates natural processes. These areas provide a variety of wildlife habitats. These lands often display high levels of investment, use, roads, and evidence of vegetation manipulation. Users expect to see other people, facilities, and evidence of human activities.  Management activities and use levels vary, depending on location, accessibility, terrain, economics, and resource conditions.

7    Primary Recreation Areas

*KNF has stated that they plan to continue to allow snowmobiling in the Ten Lakes WSA  but no summer motorized use .  However, the language they are using is very similar to the language in the 1986 Flathead NF plan that Judge Malloy ruled prohibited snowmobiling.  Furthermore, they are currently working on a separate planning project called the Galton Project.  Montana Wilderness Ass. claims that current snowmobile use in the WSA is illegal.  Expect a lawsuit if Galton Project allows current level of  snowmobile use.  Also we do not know what planning rule Galton is using.  

**  Motorized use allowed in scenic, recreational, geological and historical SIAs only.   Not allowed in wild river segments.   

We underlined the other areas where motorized use will be allowed on designated open roads and trails.  Except for the underlining, the above descriptions are excerpted and copied exactly from a draft KIPZ document.  To see the entire document  including tables of permitted and prohibited uses, go >>>>HERE .  These documents came from the KIPZ website

Go to our KIPZ Map page to see where these descriptions will be used.   You will also find tables there showing the acreage allocations. 



             Harvest levels (55 to 65 MMBF per year) will be about the same as recent years but only about 33% of what is currently dying (about 230 MMBF) each year so forest health will continue to deteriorate and fire hazard will continue to accumulate. historical highs.  Fewer timber jobs predicted.  Suitable base for timber production will decrease by one third.  CH1-15, CH2-3, CH2-5


            Motorized access is expected to decrease even though the demand will increase thus increasing the pressure on roads and trails open to motorized use dramatically.  This will in turn lower the quality of the experience and may cause problems that some will use as an excuse to close even more access.   CH2-7, CH2-9


            76,000 acres of new SIA (Special Interest Areas).  Most of this increase results from enlarging the Ten Lakes Area.  The use and access restrictions will be determined later. 


            All current recommendations for wilderness have been removed.  Nevertheless these areas are still being managed as defacto wilderness under the management designation of  “Wildlands”.  The only difference between Wildlands and designated Wilderness is that forest managers can use hand held mechanized equipment in Wildlands.  There are several new areas that have been included in the Wildlands category such as the Whitefish Divide east of Graves Cr. and north of MT Marston.


            The new Grizzly open road and total road densities will be achieved in 5 years.  That is a very aggressive road closure and road rip program, and ensures more fuel buildup and catastrophic fires will result from areas with no access.


            The new plan will only treat 5000 – 15,000 acres of hazardous fire fuels per year.  That is not enough to even keep up with biomass growth in strategic fuel break areas again ensuring future catastrophic fires.

The trend in Flathead Forest Management is very much like management trends on the other forests in these planning zones.  In fact, nationwide the FS is moving to a more restrictive, less people friendly, more of a preservation philosophy of management.  Most of the intensively managed lands like the timber base will be managed less intensively.  Less heavily managed general forest lands are becoming backcountry.  Backcountry is becoming wilderness.  Motorized is becoming non-motorized.  Open lands and open roads are being closed.

Important differences in the Flathead and Kootenai plans are that the KNF has divided Backcountry into 3 categories of trail use – no motorized, snowmobile only and winter and summer off road motorized.  There are no open roads in these areas.  Also KNF has replaced recommended wilderness with Wildlands management and KNF has grouped all of general forest uses into one category. 



Contact KIPZ

Idaho Panhandle National Forests - Jodi Kramer

Phone: (208) 765-7235 Fax: (208) 765-7307

Kootenai National Forest - Kirsten Kaiser

Phone: (406) 283-7659 Fax: (406) 283-7709

Comment Information

Kootenai  (KIPZ)   Website:  http://www.fs.fed.us/kipz/

Comments must be postmarked no later than August 10, 2006.

Comments should be submitted to:

KIPZ Proposed Land Management Plan

Kootenai National Forest

1101 Highway 2 West

Libby, MT 59923

Email: r1_kipz_revision@fs.fed.us 

This page was last updated on 06/16/09

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