Logging project proposed near Yellowstone National Park

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Wildlife officials in Montana have proposed a logging and vegetation treatment project west of Yellowstone National Park, citing the possibility of wildfires and the threat of a mountain pine beetle outbreak.

The project would spread across about 40,000 acres (16,000 hectares), including South Fork Madison River watersheds and some grizzly bear habitats, the Billings Gazette reported.

The project would provide an estimated 100 cubic feet (3 cubic meters) of saw timber to local mills during the 15 years of the work, officials said. The proposal also seeks the closure and rehabilitation of Road 478 along Madison River to improve water quality, and to open a portion of Road 1704 currently closed to the public.

Although no new roads would be developed, temporary roads may be built and decommissioned during the duration of construction.

In addition, a no-work buffer would be enforced around the waterways to protect the streams from construction.

Comments on the South Plateau Area Landscape Treatment Project will be accepted through Sept. 16.

The Custer Gallatin National Forest has previously had project proposals rejected because of challenges raised by local environmental groups.

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