Marshall Woods restoration work starting up
Work on the Marshall Woods Restoration Project is getting underway. Missoula District Ranger Jennifer Hensiek met with the Lolo Restoration Committee last week and went over the timetable of work scheduled for Summer 2016. It’s an ambitious schedule and the project impacts (e.g. chainsaw noise, temporary trail closures) will be noticeable for anyone hiking or biking in the area. The work details will alternate between the Rattlesnake main corridor and the Woods Gulch area, so you can avoid the loggers by choosing one or the other location according to the schedule and map.
Some noxious weed spraying and tree thinning have already begun on former Plum Creek lands in the upper part of Marshall Canyon. Work within the Rattlesnake Valley will begin as early as tomorrow, July 13th, with thinning and piling of small trees in “Unit 71” along the main Recreation Area corridor, in the area between the outhouse at the head of the meadow along Spring Creek, up to the 1.7-mile mark. Thinning will focus on trees smaller than 8-inch diameter. According to Ranger Hensiek, cutting and piling in this Unit should be completed within 3 weeks.
Spot spraying of noxious weeds will commence next week along the main corridor. And starting after July 15th the Spring Creek bridge abutment will be rebuilt to reduce sediment input to the creek.
After these projects are completed, mid-summer work will shift to the units between Woods Gulch and Mount Jumbo, returning to the lower portion of the Recreation Area (Unit 70) in the late summer.
This work is likely to be quite noticeable and intrusive for hikers and bikers this summer, but groups like the RCWG who participated in the Marshall Woods planning process are optimistic that the long-term outcome will be a resilient forest that continues to support a range of recreational and educational uses well into the future.
Please send us email if you have any questions, and take pictures. Citizen monitoring is very important in ensuring the best possible outcome in projects like this. Help us out!