Cameron Rasor

Cameron Rasor, the new District Ranger for the Pintler Ranger District of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, seen here helping pack out two smoke jumpers from a small fire in the John Long Mountains.

Photo provided

Citizen's Climate Lobby to meet

On Tuesday, Dec. 12, the Citizens' Climate Lobby Helena will meet from 5:30-6:30 p.m., at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, 512 Logan St. The group will view a recent CCL speaker’s video of Maj. Gen. Rick Devereaux on national security risks, green power and climate change. Devereaux is a volunteer of the Asheville, N.C. Citizens' Climate Lobby chapter and an executive vice president of Texzon Technologies, a pioneer of electromagnetic wave propagation, energy storage and electricity distribution.

For more information, contact John at 475-0079 or go to: citizensclimatelobby.org.

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Meeting set to discuss Red Rocks project

The Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest is hosting a public meeting on Thursday, Dec. 7, from 7-8:30 p.m. to discuss the Red Rocks Forest Health project being developed by the Butte-Jefferson Ranger District in the Boulder River area. The meeting will be held in Boulder at the Jefferson County/Boulder Fairgrounds (located off Hwy 69, 1/2 mile south of Boulder) in the Volunteer Hall.

The Red Rocks project occurs in an insect and disease area designated under the Healthy Forest Restoration Act. The Forest Service and stakeholders are collaboratively developing a proposal to address resource concerns in the area. Primary objectives include reducing extent of insect and disease infestations, mitigating hazardous fuels, and increasing the resilience of the forest to future outbreaks of insect, disease, and fire. 

For more information, contact Derek Milner, Project Team Leader, at dmilner@fs.fed.us or 406-758-5340. Information about the project is posted online at: www.fs.usda.gov/projects/bdnf/landmanagement/projects (scroll down and click on Red Rocks Forest Health).

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FS map prices set to increase Jan. 1 

For the first time in nearly a decade, increasing costs of production, printing, and distribution are driving the need for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service to increase the price of its maps. Prices of USFS paper and plastic coated maps will increase to $14 on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018.

The Forest Service continually updates its maps and looks for ways to enhance maps. The Forest Service expects to shorten the revision cycle as cartographers continue to apply new digital technology to the map revision process.

The Forest Service is also working to increase the availability of digital maps. Digital maps for mobile applications can be downloaded at www.avenza.com/pdf-maps/store. Digital maps cost $4.99 per side.

There are three ways to order maps from the National Forest Map Store (NFMS):

2. By phone: 406-329-3024

3. By U.S. mail: USDA Forest Service, National Forest Store, P.O. Box 7669, Missoula, MT 59807.

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Racetrack Road to be repaired

The U.S. Forest Service will be conducting repairs to Racetrack Road in the Flint Creek Range. Heavy spring rains and flooding resulted in a landslide and washout west of Racetrack Campground. As a result, the Forest Service has temporarily closed that section of road to full-size vehicles.

Forest Service staff installed a barricade on Racetrack Road (Forest Service Road 169) west of the campground. The road will remain closed to full-size vehicles west and north from there until the end of the road at Alpine Lake, along North Fork Racetrack Creek. The road remains open to off-road vehicles and snowmobiles. Repairs should be complete and the road open to all vehicles by Aug. 30, 2018.

Racetrack Campground is before the closure and will reopen as normal in the spring of 2018. Racetrack Cabin remains available for renting, but is 4.5 miles past the closure, so will not be accessible with full-size vehicles.

For questions, please contact the Pintler Ranger District office in Philipsburg at 406-859-3211.

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Rasor selected as new Pintler Ranger

The U.S. Forest Service has announced that Cameron Rasor has been selected as the new permanent Ranger for the Pintler Ranger District on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. Cameron has served as the Rangeland Management Specialist on the Pintler Ranger District since 2005, and recently has filled-in as the acting ranger.

As District Ranger, Cameron will be responsible for all National Forest land within the 731,000-acre Pintler Ranger District. Cameron replaces former District Ranger Charlene Bucha, who remains in the area, but is now working on projects for the U.S. Forest Service headquarters.

The Pintler Ranger District Office is located at 88 Business Loop in Philipsburg, Montana. The public may contact the district with any questions or concerns at 406-859-3211.

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Pheasant release applications due soon

It’s not too soon to submit your application for the 2018 pheasant release through the state Upland Game Bird Enhancement Program. Landowners interested in releasing pen-reared ring-necked pheasants have until Jan. 15 to submit an application.

Under Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Upland Game Bird Release Program, landowners who attempt to enhance pheasant populations in suitable habitat may apply annually for up to 5 consecutive years. Projects must comprise at least 100 contiguous acres of land and contain a combination of habitat components-including cover and food that upland game birds need to survive. Lands enrolled in the pheasant release program must allow free public access to hunt upland game birds during the season the releases take place.

Application for pheasant releases must be received at FWP’s Headquarters in Helena no later than Monday, Jan. 15. Pheasants eligible to be released will take place between Aug. 1 and Sept. 15.

Hunting preserves, lands that host a commercial hunting enterprise, and lands where hunting rights are leased or paid for are not eligible. Releases may not take place in Fergus, Richland, or Roosevelt counties.

For more information, and to download an application form, visit FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov—search "Upland Game Bird Enhancement Program," or contact Debbie Hohler at: 406-444-5674, or by e-mail: dhohler@mt.gov.

-- Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

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Free avalanche safety training offered

Montana State Parks, in partnership with the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center, (GNFAC) will offer free avalanche safety training every Friday and Saturday for snowmobilers in Cooke City through March 10, 2018.

GNFAC instructors will present lecture and field instruction classes to teach snowmobilers the fundamentals of avalanche safety before they ride in the backcountry.

The Friday evening lectures cover current avalanche conditions, safe riding techniques, essential gear, avalanche awareness and identification of avalanche terrain. The lectures are held from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Cooke City Chamber of Commerce building located at 206 W. Main St, Cooke City.

The Saturday field training offers snowmobilers the opportunity to gain experience in avalanche rescue techniques in the field. Instructors will set up rescue scenarios for riders to practice using their avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe.

Avalanche rescue practice is available from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and will be located at a sled-accessible location on the Lulu Pass Road. The exact location will be announced during the Friday evening lecture. Attendance of both Friday and Saturday classes is recommended, but not required.

For more information about GNFAC Cooke City Avalanche Training Classes visit: www.mtavalanche.com/workshops/calendar.

Or contact the GNFAC at 406-587-6984 or mtavalanche@gmail.com.

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Candlelight tours at Lewis & Clark Caverns

Montana State Parks invites the public to enjoy Holiday Candlelight Tours at Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park this December. Tickets are on sale now. 

See the colorful limestone formations of Lewis & Clark Caverns lit by the festive glow of candlelight. Holiday Candlelight Tours are only offered in December and this year’s tour dates are Dec. 16-17, Dec. 22-23, and Dec. 29-30. Tours are available from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and there are eight tours each day.

The tour is 2 miles long and takes approximately two hours. Tickets are available by calling the visitor center at 406-287-3541. Admission is $20 for adults (12 and up); $8 for children (6 to 11). The tour is not recommended for children 5 and under. Tickets are nonrefundable. Dress appropriately for the weather.

For more information call the park visitor center at 406-287-3541.

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