Boulder Lowlands

BUTTE-For the first time, state and federal agencies are working together to keep Montana's public lands safe from wildfires.

The result of the collaboration between the Beaverhead-Deer Lodge National Forest and the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation is the Boulder Lowlands Project located just north of Butte.

It all began in 2014 when the Farm Bill was passed. The bill allowed Montana to designate lands as priority areas to be treated from insect infestations and then protected from wildfires.

Both the Forest Service and the DNRC were needed to take on the 10,000 acre project and as a result the Good Neighbor Authority was formed.

On Friday, representatives from across southwest Montana received a tour of the timber harvested by the two agencies.

Project managers say they're happy to be working together and most importantly, protecting Montanans and the land from the threat of wildfires.

"We didn't want to take a project away from the Forest Service that they were going to do anyway, we wanted to come in an do a project that they didn't have the capacity to get done without us," said Montana DNRC Director John Tubbs.

The project provides other perks like creating money for the state and jobs for southwest Montana. Sun Mountain Lumber in Deer Lodge purchased the timber harvested from the project to mill and sell the pine.

"This particular sale sold for a very good price, and so we're able to take that money and invest it into future projects, as well as the Montana Department of Natural Resources their administrative costs will be covered," said Forest Supervisor Cheri Ford.

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