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Park board members stress urgency in clearing burned trees


January 9, 2018

With time increasing as a factor, Hill County Park Board members during their monthly meeting Monday stressed urgency in deciding what to do with burned timber that was charred by the East Fork Fire.

If nothing is done, there is risk some of the burned trees may, at some point, fall, Hill County Commissioner Mark Peterson said during the meeting.

Logger Pat Marvel may log on local rancher Dave Molitor’s property, Beaver Creek Park Superintendent Chad Edgar said. So it is possible it might be worth the potential logger’s time, since he’s already in the area, to gather any worthy timber there is in Beaver Creek Park.

One of the main issues with the burned timber in the park, previous discussions and assessments have revealed, is how scattered the burned timber is in the park. It must be worth a logger’s time to bring in equipment and put in the time, and that’s been questionable in the case of Beaver Creek Park, people have said at previous meetings.

Local rancher Lon Waid, who runs a lumber mill, had indicated interest in logging in Beaver Creek Park and was on Monday night’s agenda but did not make it to the meeting.

Edgar said one of his major concerns has been the intrusive tracks caused by a logging crew. He said he would like to avoid roads and tracks potentially being created by logging equipment as much as he can, or completely, if he can.

At some point, a decision has to be made about the timber, Edgar said. If nothing else, taking down the feeble trees near fence lines must be made a priority, he added.

“They either need to be knocked down or logged,” Edgar said. “I think we should start the process.”

The board discussed the possibility of talking to forestry specialist Matt Ricketts of Montana Natural Resources and Conservation Service, who, together with another specialist, gave a presentation Dec. 5 in Havre about trees damaged by fire.

Ricketts had personally offered his expertise, Edgar said Monday.

Hill County Mosquito District Supervisor Terry Turner has been talking about and looking into spraying for weeds in the park after winter, Edgar said. Turner wants to hit areas that were burned as they are susceptible to weeds. He is considering having a helicopter come to the area and drop a weed killer, Edgar said, adding that Turner has submitted for a grant for fire-related aid.

In other park news, the Rotary Falls trails proposed by Havre Trails is in the process of clearing up issues of area and permit management. Monday night’s discussion was on the terms of the agreement between Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the park board about the maintenance of the trailhead area and user access. Determining which permits allow access to the trail is the discussion that is still ongoing, Havre Trails director Lindsey Bennett said.

Grazing on the park is done for the season and cows have been removed, Edgar said.


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