Bitterroot National Forest adjusts unwanted 700,000 bd. ft. timber sale, receives one bid; contractors may be even less enthusiastic about upcoming 5 million bd. ft. West Fork timber sale

LOS ANGELES , January 10, 2012 () –

Officials with the Bitterroot National Forest, which straddles Idaho and Montana, were happy to attract even one bidder to just one of two timber sales after it dropped the appraised value to minimum and boosted the number of slash disposal sites on the site, The Ravalli Republic reported Jan. 7.

Bob Walker of Darby, Montana, was the sole bidder on the 700,000 bd. ft. sale at Lake Como, and was awarded the project to remove beetle-killed pine and to thin forests, according to the article carried in The Missoulian.

When National Forest officials offered the timber sales in November they received no bids. Loggers protested that the sales were too far from mills. They called for the U.S. Forest Service to meet demands for logs for housing and to adjust restrictions such as winter logging, The Ravalli Republic reported.

The Forest Service dropped the minimum bid price and extended how long companies have to complete the work.

Darby District Ranger Chuck Oliver said the agency was “thrilled” to receive a bid this time, although was surprised the number of bidders remained low even after sweetening the offer.

However, Oliver noted that the next sale in the Bitterroot National Forest is even farther from mills. The West Fork timber sale will encompass 5 million board feet, The Ravalli Republic reported.

Oliver said Forest Service scientists determined the Lake Como timber sale and logging strategy to help remaining trees in the area to fight expected beetle attacks.

Community members said the upcoming timber sale will remove too many trees from the popular recreation area, reported The Ravalli Republic.

Recreation specialists returned to the timber sale site after initial marking of the trees, said Oliver. In some places, they decided the proposed cutting could be canceled, and those areas were removed from the timber sale.

The primary source of this article is The Ravalli Republic, Ravalli, Montana, on Jan. 7, 2012.

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