Custer, SD — Forest officials have initiated planning of the Black Hills Resilient Landscapes Project and seek public comments on the proposal.
Officials said the mountain pine beetle epidemic appears to be slowing in most parts of the forest, but the infestation has left behind a changed landscape.
Much of the forest is now more open and distribution of pine forest structure has moved away from desired conditions described in the Black Hills National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan, as amended (1996, 2006).
The purpose of the proposed project is to move landscape-level vegetation conditions in the project area toward objectives set by the Black Hills National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan, as amended, in order to increase ecosystem resilience to insect infestation and other natural disturbances, contribute to public safety and the local economy, and reduce risk of wildfire to landscapes and communities.
Proposed activities include reduction of hazardous fuels, prescribed burning, enhancement of hardwoods and grasslands, timber harvest, non-commercial thinning, and associated actions. The project area, which includes most of the Black Hills National Forest, consists of the areas designated under Healthy Forests Restoration Act authority at the request of the Governors of South Dakota and Wyoming. The Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board is serving as a formal collaborator on the project.
Further information on the project is available at http://tinyurl.com/BHRLProject. Paper copies of this information are available on request and at all Black Hills National Forest offices.
Comments may be submitted online by going to http://tinyurl.com/BHRLProjectComment. Send written comments to: BHRL Project, Black Hills National Forest, 1019 North 5th Street, Custer, SD 57730, or via facsimile to 605-673-9350, c/o BHRL Project. Written comments also may be hand-delivered to the above address between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Mountain time, Monday through Friday except federal holidays. Comments will be accepted through Sept. 23, 2016.