Eight years passed while a diverse group of Missoula, Montana, residents worked their way through the controversies to find compromise. And now the 13,000-acre Marshall Woods Restoration Project is finally approved and starting to take shape.
The to-do list includes commercial harvesting, tree thinning, prescribed fire and recreational improvements in several areas just north of the Missoula city limits, in the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area.
The intent is to restore native vegetation, promote forest health and reduce the wildfire danger at the head of a narrow, heavily populated valley.
Karl Puckett spread the word about the Marshall Woods project after investing four-plus hours recently touring the area with members of the Montana Society of American Foresters.
“The Marshall Woods Restoration project is being held up as an example of how local, state and federal agencies can work across boundaries to reduce fire risk on public and private lands that abut each other in the wildland-urban interface,” he wrote.
Puckett’s full story is a well-honed look at a collaborative project that’s become a national poster child for such efforts. Someday, the approach may be the norm nationwide.
Read Karl’s reporting here, and watch in the months ahead for a special edition of Treesource devoted to collaboration in the forests.