The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is celebrating after a recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision dealing with a Montana forest. RMEF spokesman Mark Holyoak explains.

“We are big advocates of actively managing our forests so you have good habitat out there for elk and all sorts of other critters and that was the case here,” Holyoak said. “There was a project over near Philipsburg in the northwest portion of the Beaverhead Deerlodge Forest there and there was some litigation opposing a habitat stewardship project that would thin out the forest, improve growth on the forest floor, shrubs, grasslands, aspen trees and that sort of thing.”

Holyoak says the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation supported the project because it would improve wildlife habitat and reduce the risk of wildfire, but they weren’t alone in supporting the project..

“We joined with the forest service and some other folks in filing what they call an amicus brief and the ruling came back in our favor,” Holyoak said. “We are excited that the project can go forward because it is just a benefit for so many reasons on the landscape. It is thinning and doing some logging in an area where the lodgepole pine trees have just been pounded by mountain pine beetles.”

Holyoak says the project won’t just help elk, it will also help clean up the headwaters of the Clark Fork River by putting up fencing to keep livestock from grazing into streams and by repairing culverts to help fish.