Comments are due on Friday (June 9) on the proposed 53,009-acre Midnight Restoration Project.
The project, developed by the Methow Valley Ranger District, encompasses the Twisp River, Wolf Creek and Rader Creek watersheds.
The project calls for thinning understory vegetation on 16,548 acres, commercial thinning of larger trees on 12,120 acres, and prescribed fire on 26,025 acres. It would also decommission more than 52 miles of roads.
The Midnight project covers areas excluded from the Twisp Restoration Project because they were affected by the 2021 Cedar Creek Fire.
The ranger district says the Midnight project is needed because the area is not resilient to disturbance and climate change. The area has less old forest and more young, dense forest than desired because of wildfire suppression and a lack of forest management, the district said.
The Midnight Project is intended to reduce the risk of wildfire and to provide better opportunities for fighting fire near developed areas.
The proposal includes interventions to preserve habitat for endangered wildlife.
The Midnight Project is likely to include more than one timber sale. Trees may be marked in advance or identified by loggers for removal based on a detailed prescription.
The ranger district will finalize the proposed actions in June after gathering public input. A draft analysis of the Midnight project and any alternatives is expected in fall 2023, accompanied by a public-comment period. A decision on the project is anticipated in June 2024.
A description of the project, supporting materials and maps are available on the Midnight Restoration Project website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/okawen/?project=63933. People can comment through a link on that page.
Comments can also be mailed to Methow Valley Ranger District, c/o Meg Trebon, 24 West Chewuch Road, Winthrop, WA 98862, or faxed to (509) 996-2208.
For additional information, contact Project Team Leader Meg Trebon at firstname.lastname@example.org.