“We’re committed to expanding active forest management in Montana to improve forest health, prevent catastrophic wildfires, and create more good-paying Montana jobs,” Gov. Gianforte said. “Here in the Helena Valley, the Brooklyn Bridge Good Neighbor Authority supports good-paying local jobs while reducing wildland fire risk in the area.”
Joined on the tour by Amanda Kaster, the director of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, the governor emphasized the importance of these projects as Montana approaches the 2021 fire season.
In addition to providing timber for harvest, GNA projects also help restore forest health by removing dead and down beetle-killed trees which fuel wildfires.
Consistent with the governor’s goals to increase use of the Good Neighbor Authority and collaborative stewardship agreements, the DNRC is striving to treat approximately 25,000 acres by the end of the year.
“Using the Montana Forest Action Plan as our guide, we’ll continue to build on this early success and support collaborative, cross-boundary forest management and restoration efforts where they are needed most,” DNRC director Kaster said. “We have more than four million acres at high risk for insects, disease and catastrophic wildfire. There’s lots of important work to do.”
The governor also received a briefing on the South Hills-Capitol 360 project, one of fourteen forest management projects selected to receive $4.5 million in state and federal funding.
The project will directly benefit from House Bill 594 which expedites the planned hazardous fuel reduction activities in the wildland urban interface. Governor Gianforte signed HB 594 into law on April 8, 2021.