Historic reflection on J. Neils Park (continued from Page 1)

In 1999, the SAF developed an original forest management plan and its members have regularly worked at managing the 100 acre forested area accordingly. The group conitues to work at thinning, hand-piling debris, tree-planting and at times marking timber for commercial removal.

In 2005, the local SAF Chapter developed an interpretive walking trail with nine stations that have numbered posts which coordinate with a pamphlet found at the trailhead. Thorough explanations of the silvicultural aspects of the trees and landscape at each particular location are described. Good hearted and professional foresters also conduct stocking control and manage some areas for White-tail deer hiding cover while attempts to reduce fire risk from Douglas-fir sapling encroachment are underway.

Measures to deal with and reduce effects from Western pine beetle have also been orchestrated by the volunteers who sometimes work in coordination with County Forester, Jennifer Nelson.

A beautiful and informative kiosk was built near the trailhead adjacent the main parking lot by SAF volunteers Mark Petersen, Russ Gautreaux, and April Rainey. Rainey also wrote up the information pamphlet, Rick Johnson helped with construction, and retired Forest Service Supervisor, Bob Casteneda, helps with insect and disease inspections.

A box with free pamphlets in addition to a small free library are located next to the information kiosk. Russ Gautreaux said, “The Libby Chapter of SAF is a small but vibrant group whose members are passionate about being a visible and relative part of our community and look for opportunities to host educational meetings and field trips which are always open to the public. Once our public health crisis is behind us, SAF will be working with Libby High School on a mentoring program for juniors interested in a natural resource career.”

  1. Neils Park has evolved beautifully with the help of local residents and is an achievement of which we all can be proud. With a base setting of a half mile air strip looking into the spectacular Cabinet Mountains, folks can now meander through forest and field along a path that is also occupied by pileated woodpeckers, pine squirrels, ravens, white-tail deer, red-shafted flickers and bald eagles.

Memorial plaques with the names of deceased benefactors on benches dot the area. Incorporated within park lands are rodeo fairgrounds, picnic shelters, kiddie play areas, basketball courts, baseball diamonds, a folf course and several soccer fields staged beside the Kootenai Rapids Soccer Clubhouse.

Take a saunter down to J. Neils Park, view the beauty, feel the history, and admire the work of your fellow citizens.


by Brian Baxter

The Kiosk found at the main trailhead at J. Neils Park in Libby was built by the Society of American Foresters local chapter.  Information found here  incorporates aerial photos, topographical maps  and history panels to give a historical picture of the area. To the right, on a timber frame post., a Little Free Library where books can be borrowed or left for loan.
Photo by Brian Baxter, The Montanian

Timber Sale  (continued from Page 1)

Benefits to the community as a result of this project include the reduction of hazardous fuels in the wildland-urban interface to decrease the potential for high intensity wildfire, and increased forest resilience to insect and disease occurrence. This project is the result of several years of partnership building, and collaborative work by the community of Libby, Lincoln County FireSafe Council, the Kootenai National Forest, and the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.

Press Release,
Office of Gov. Gianforte



Closure Order
Libby Ranger District

For public safety due to felling, skidding and processing activities while the sale is underway, it is prohibited to be on any NFS lands, trail, or within the boundaries depicted on the map (Exhibit A) Mondays through Fridays, 8 am to 5 pm.


Trail closure signs will be posted at all access points but please view the full closure order here: