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Project seeks to thin crowded tree stands

| May 15, 2024 1:00 AM

The Idaho Panhandle National Forests is seeking input on a proposal to thin stands of young, densely stocked trees across the Priest Lake, Bonners Ferry, and Sandpoint ranger districts. The proposal aims to promote healthy regeneration for larger trees and reduce wildfire danger.

In designated units where highly stocked stands of young trees — younger than 25 years old — are too crowded for healthy growing circumstances, forest managers aim to trim up to 2,500 acres annually.

The project addresses a critical need for young stand management and fuel treatments in areas where young regeneration has occurred following harvest or wildfire. 

If left unchecked, IPNF officials said the stands create a fire hazard while crowding out desirable species needing more space and sunlight, such as western white pine, western larch, and ponderosa pine.

The project would use only mechanical methods, like workers with chainsaws or loppers, to fell trees less than 7 inches diameter and pile them for burning or mastication.

No new roads would be constructed, and the project would produce no commercial products.

The project's planning documents can be found online at tinyurl.com/56wsat8w. The comment period runs through May 25, 2024.

Information: Doug Nishek, douglas.nishek@usda.gov or 208-267-6765