Phase Two of the Darby Lumber Lands timber project has been approved by Bitterroot National Forest Supervisor Matt Anderson and work could begin this fall. Anderson signed the final Decision Notice and a Finding of No Significant Impact, which will allow commercial timber harvest, non-commercial timber thinning and prescribed burning. Some roads and trails would be closed, but five new motorized connector trails and loop routes for ATV travel would be built. The 27,453-acre area is in the South Fork Sleeping Child and Rye Creek drainages in the Sapphire Mountains east of Darby, according to Public Affairs Officer Tod McKay.

Phase One of the project was completed in 2016 and included 44 miles of connector trails, along with improving watershed and stream health. The Phase Two project is expected to provided 5.7 million board feet of timber to sawmills. The decision was announced following a public objection period. An Objection Reviewing Officer found that the plan complied with all applicable laws and the Bitterroot Forest Plan. For more information, check the USDA project website or the Darby/Sula Ranger District at (406) 821-3913,