Public Comment for Over-Snow Motorized Use Travel Plan

Kootenai National Forest

Submitted By Larona Rebo,

United States Forest Service

The Kootenai National Forest is proposing to complete motorized over-snow planning across the forest to comply with the Travel Management Rule in the Over-snow Motorized Use Travel Plan. This travel plan includes National Forest System lands on the Libby, Cabinet, Three Rivers, Fortine and Rexford Ranger Districts across the forest. This project does not include the Ten Lakes Travel Management project area (approximately 64,000 acres including the wilderness study area) as this will be covered under a separate planning effort.

The Forest is proposing to open 1,257,633 acres to cross country over-snow vehicle use. Approximately 278,000 acres will be available for cross country travel from December 1 to March 31, and then approximately 979,000 acres will be available for cross country travel from December 1 to May 31. Areas with a medium to high probability of supporting grizzly bear  denning habitat will close to motor vehicle use on March 31 each year. All over-snow vehicles are permitted to operate within these areas during the designed seasons of use.

The preliminary proposed action also includes approximately 642 miles of over-snow trails, consisting of approximately 274 miles of groomed trails and approximately 368 miles of ungroomed trails. The majority of the groomed trails are currently maintained through special use permits with local snowmobile clubs. Of the groomed trails, 13 (approximately 35 percent) are only groomed from December 1 to March 31 to be consistent with the Forest Plan. The other groomed trails may be groomed from December 1 to May 31, depending on snow conditions each year. Designated class of vehicles on groomed trails match existing permits and are fully open without restrictions.

Additional information about the preliminary proposed action and supporting information are available online at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/kootenai/?project=64358.

If you comment on this proposal, you will also have the opportunity to comment on the Environmental Assessment before we issue a decision. Specific written comments (§218.2) on the proposed project are most helpful if provided by August 21, 2023. Written comments must be submitted via mail, fax or in person (Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, excluding holidays) to: Kootenai National Forest  Attn: Over-snow Motorized Travel Plan
31374 US Highway 2 Libby, Montana 59923-3022.
Fax: (406) 283-7709. Electronic comments including attachments may be submitted electronically in word (.doc), rich text format (.rtf), text (.txt), hypertext markup language (.html), or portable document format (.pdf). Electronic comments must be submitted by visiting the project webpage: https://cara.fs2c.usda.gov/Public//CommentInput?Project=64358. Under the Get Connected tab, click on Comment/Object on Project on the right side of the page.


Spring Up Libby at Farmers Market

What a great turn out at the Farmers Market June 29. Thank you to everyone who stopped by, we hope you had a blast. Thank you for the rocks and soil Kaylee Cohenour, the amazing plants Hoot Owl Farm, and all the wonderful partners who traveled from far and wide to share resources.

Courtesy of Zero to Five Lincoln County


Mobley Captured in Sanders County

By Ashley South

Homicide suspect Chadwick Shane Mobley was captured near Thompson Falls, Montana on Sunday July 9th. He escaped in Plains, Montana while in custody in transport from Libby to Missoula, Montana. With help from many community members, Mobley was back into custody within two days. Mobley was the subject of a nationwide manhunt. The driver of the private transportation company stopped for gas in Plains and left the vehicle unlocked, which led to the suspect escaping on foot. All forces including the Sanders County Sheriff’s Department, Plains Police Department, Highway Patrol, and most impactful the public. The Sheriff’s office received over eighty calls tipping off Mobley’s movement, eventually pinpointing his location on the West of Plains in the water, with a stolen canoe. Mobley did not struggle with arrest, according to Sheriff Fielders. He has been transported safely to Missoula.


Photo of Chadwick Shane Mobley from Lincoln County Sheriffs Department