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Forest Service tries
new timber sales approach


by Suzanne Vernon
For the Pathfinder
June 18, 1998

Area loggers may change the way they bid on Forest Service timber sales, if new pilot projects are successful.

The Forest Service is asking loggers how much they will charge for services such as felling, decking, thinning and site preparation on the new pilot projects, but the government will be responsible for selling the merchantable timber that will be cut as part of a nationwide experiment in stewardship logging. Of the 23 pilot projects planned in the lower 48 states, two are located near Seeley Lake and Condon, and one is planned near Columbia Falls.

The new stewardship approach will eliminate most of the financial risk for loggers, according to Joe Yates, forester at the Swan Lake Ranger District in Bigfork. "We hope to get a different output than we would with a traditional timber sale," he explained.

The specific project he addressed at a recent Ad Hoc meeting in Condon is the Meadow-Smith project north of Condon.

"This is a very new concept," he explained to about twenty people who attended the meeting. The Washington office of the Forest Service is funding these pilot projects. The projects will be monitored and possibly used as demonstration sites for future stewardship timber sales.

In an effort to help logging contractors understand how to bid on these upcoming pilot projects, the Forest Service, in cooperation with the Swan Ecosystem Management and Learning Center (SEC) in Condon, is hosting a contractors' workshop on June 19-20 at the Condon Work Center. For more information call the SEC office at 754-3137.

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