Timber sale in Bitterroot National Forest, Montana, stalled while court decision over presence of lynx in neighboring national forest is re-examined

LOS ANGELES , November 19, 2013 () – The Bitterroot National Forest had planned to begin a large timber sale in the Sapphire Mountains this month, but has been stalled by an environmental legal concern, the Missoulian reported on Nov. 18.

The 2,113-acre Three Saddle Vegetation Project timber sale was put on hold because of the reexamination of a court decision made regarding the presence of lynx in the neighboring Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest over the summer.

After revisiting the case, the judge ruled that the timber sale on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge had been permitted because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had shortcut procedure in order to conclude that logging near Anaconda would not harm the lynx.

Both the Beaverhead-Deerlodge and Bitterroot Forests were said not to be occupied. However, the judge ruled that all such cases in which it was determined that the lynx was not present should be reevaluated to determine that the rare species “may be present”.

Ray Smith, objection and appeals coordinator for the Forest Service’s Northern Region, called the postponement for the project a “limbo spot”, adding that he wasn’t sure when the Fish and Wildlife Service would complete their review of the project because of budgetary constraints.

The primary source of this article is Missoulian, Missoula, Montana, on Nov. 18, 2103.

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