The Swan Lake Ranger District recently completed the Island Unit Trail System Additions Environmental Analysis and is currently seeking public comments. In the Island Trails project, initiated in 2009, the District proposed the designation and construction of a new trail system in the Blacktail Mountain area for both non-motorized and motorized uses.
“The Island Trails Project seeks to provide a strong mix of both new motorized and non-motorized trails in a portion of the Flathead National Forest where recreational trail opportunities are lacking,” said Swan Lake District Ranger Rich Kehr.
The EA was developed after extensive collaboration with jeep and ATV clubs, as well as the Foys to Blacktail Trail organization, and citizens in Lakeside interested in a hiking trail from the community. “We received a significant number of comments on the proposed action last year,” said Andrew Johnson, the project leader for the Swan Lake Ranger District. “We heard both strong support for motorized and non-motorized trails, but also some concerns about wildlife security and potential user conflicts,” he added.
The Forest has identified a preferred alternative in the EA, which will designate 52 miles of new motorized trails, and two new non-motorized trails including the Foys to Blacktail Trail and a Lakeside to Blacktail Trail. “Alternative C will provide a route for the long sought-after Foys to Blacktail Trail, a great trail connection from the Lakeside area to Blacktail Mountain, and some excellent additions to the Blacktail Wild Bill OHV (Off-Highway Vehicle) trail,” said Johnson.
The comment period for the EA runs through March 22, 2012. The EA is available on the Flathead National Forest website. Hard copies of the EA may be obtained by contacting Johnson at the Swan Lake Ranger District, by phone at 406-837-7507 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments may be mailed to the District at 200 Ranger Station Road, Bigfork, MT 59911, or emailed to email@example.com.
The Environmental Analysis for the project is available online.
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