Commission hears presentation on forest plan

By: 
Dwight Harriman

At its regularly scheduled 9 a.m. session Thursday, the county commissioners heard a presentation from Custer Gallatin National Forest representatives about a map that will be made public Friday, July 7, showing areas with wilderness characteristics.

Gardiner District Ranger Michael Thom and spokeswoman Marna Daley laid out the next steps in the process of the Forest Plan Revision, which includes producing the map.

Part of the Forest Plan Revision is a requirement an inventory be made of areas with wilderness characteristics, Park County Commission Chairman Steve Caldwell said Wednesday. That inventory has been done, and now forest officials will evaluate it to determine if recommendations should be made for any areas to be designated as wilderness. 

The evaluation will be done over the winter, and will take into account public comment made in the days ahead.

The forest plan itself does not create wilderness, Caldwell said. It only provides recommendations for areas that have wilderness characteristics. Any designation of wilderness must take place by an act of Congress.

Among other business at their Thursday session, the commissioners:

• Agreed to raise the amount of yearly funding it proves videos to the Stafford Animal Shelter from $9,000 to $10,000.

• Approved budgeting $194,700 in staff and administrative support for the Montana State University-Park County Extension office. A funding contract is made every year with the office.

• Signed an on-call agreement for after-hours IT support with Granite Enterprises for up to $4,000. 

• Signed a $20,000 contract with Granicus to provide livestreaming of county commission meetings and other county board meetings.

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Dwight Harriman may be reached at dharriman@livent.net.