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Public comment on the Flathead National Forest’s revised management plan has been extended 10 days to May 15.

Flathead Forest spokeswoman Teresa Wenum said the extra time was requested by some people reviewing the plan’s proposals and supplementary material.

The plan covers both how national forest lands will be managed over the next 15 or 20 years, and how that plan is affected by the potential delisting of grizzly bears in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem.

The Grizzly Bear Conservation Strategy affects several national forests, and state and federal agencies.

If grizzlies are removed from federal Endangered Species Act protection, that could change how the bears’ needs are considered when developing logging, recreation or travel plans on public lands along the Continental Divide of western Montana.

Public comments collected in this phase will help planning teams spot areas of conflict or debate that need additional work, according to forest planner Joe Krueger. After those changes are developed, additional public comment periods will take place before the draft environmental impact statement is ready in early 2016.

The Flathead National Forest plan revision website provides the full proposed action text for the revision, describing preliminary desired conditions, objectives, standards, guidelines and other plan content; the 2014 Assessment; summaries of the public meetings and public meeting materials, and public comments.

The revision component of the proposed action is located at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/flathead/fpr. The amendment component of the proposed action can be found at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/flathead/gbamend. Links to the 2012 planning rule and the draft NCDE Grizzly Bear Conservation Strategy can be found on these websites as well.

For more information about the project, contact Joe Krueger, Forest Planner, Flathead National Forest, 650 Wolfpack Way, Kalispell, MT 59901, (406) 758-5243, or at flatheadplanrevision@fs.fed.us.

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