Healthy Forest Initiative

Big Sky’s forests are overstocked, which makes them susceptible to catastrophic wildland fires, insect pests, and diseases. Our forests need intelligent management aimed at replacing the benefits that wildfire once provided for forest health. The Big Sky Forest Stewardship Plan was developed to serve as an educational resource for landowners and a guideline for local forestry businesses.

Program goals: increase landowner knowledge and responsibility, treat acres as a whole forest ecosystem rather than individual sections, establish and strengthen wood markets.

Priorities

  • Enhance public benefit from trees and forest (recreation, wildlife, water, aesthetics)
  • Protect forests from harm (wildfire, epidemic insect pests and diseases outbreaks)
  • Conserve working forest lands
  • Identify and conserve high priority forest ecosystems and landscapes (white bark pine, aspen stands, riparian areas)
  • Actively and sustainably manage forests

Accomplishments

  • Community input – held 6 community meetings
  • Public education, outreach, awareness – reached 1,500 citizens and gained 160 supporters
  • Created a Big Sky Forest Stewardship Plan

Ongoing

  • Be a resource to landowners who are interested in implementing forest treatments on their property
  • Explore opportunities to utilize the woody material that comes off of forest treatments

Financial Supporters

Merrill Lynch, Bank of America Corporation and Big Sky Resort Tax Board

Partners

US Forest Service, MT Dept. Natural Resource and Conservation, Montana State University, MT Dept. of Environmental Quality, Blue Water Task Force, Gallatin/Big Sky Weed District, and Gallatin County Conservation District.

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