Lincoln County officials and representatives of the timber industry are cautiously optimistic about the prospect of additional logging activity after the Kootenai National Forest approved the sale of roughly 39 million board-feet of timber northeast of Libby.
Kootenai Forest Supervisor Chris Savage signed a record of decision for the East Reservoir Project on Oct. 27.
The project calls for timber harvest and associated fuel treatments on 8,845 acres. The overall project area covers 92,407 acres approximately 15 miles east of Libby along the east side of Lake Koocanusa Reservoir.
The timber total represents more board-feet than the Kootenai National Forest typically harvests in a year. The timber harvest in 2012 was 24 million board feet. During the logging heyday of the 1980s, however, the annual Kootenai timber harvest often topped 200 million board-feet.
Paul Tisher, one of the owners of TBC Timber Inc., said he hopes the timber sale will avoid any further delays. The first request for public comment on the project was in December 2010. “Anything that can add harvesting timber is definitely good,” he said. “Everybody benefits from increased harvesting.”