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4 open house meetings were held to discuss the idea of a conservation forest. 19 presentations were also given on the topic. A voluntary survey was conducted to determine the communities opinion of the Swan Resource Management Study. 78 people participate in the survey, the results are shown below.

Click the link to read the full report: Survey Opinions and Results


There were 37 Favorable Comments:

  1. We must do better at managing our forests. 7/2/2014 4:46 PM
  2. We need better use of our renewable resources, instead of simply letting the forest grow out of control, until it burns in out of control forest fires that cost the public tax dollars.7/2/2014 3:04 PM
  3. Heard your presentation at Polson Rotary. Good luck. 7/1/2014 1:21 PM
  5. Thanks for the good presentation and all the information. 6/11/2014 8:06 PM
  6. Seems like the largest hurdle for this idea will be the legal battle of the conservation district generating revenue from National Forest Land which is technically owned by the entire country. I don’t necessarily disagree with the idea I just don’t see how it is actually going to work.6/1/2014 10:49 AM
  7. Knowledge is power. I support gaining hard data in order to manage our timber resources. We have learned best management practices, and the value they bring to other resources, like water.5/24/2014 8:35 AM
  8. Depending on cost and results, I do support the study. 5/21/2014 1:24 PM
  9. This work you are embarking on is long over do. my hope is the people who are going to be doing the study are well trained in this field. 5/19/2014 8:18 PM
  10. A very exciting possibility 5/18/2014 11:20 AM
  11. Excellent opportunity! 5/17/2014 3:43 PM
  12. Water quality is the “life blood” of Lake and Flathead counties, so do what is necessary to maintain it! 5/12/2014 11:48 AM
  13. I am so happy to hear you are working toward good forest management practices and looking to work on future projects that will impact all of us.5/12/2014 10:59 AM
  14. It makes sense to use the resources of our forests to further protect the environment we live in. We are very lucky to have such a professional in Jim Simpson to take on the task. 5/12/2014 10:05 AM
  15. The so called environmental groups are using laws which give them unprecedented power in our courts to destroy the very resources they are claiming to protect. They do this to deny us there sources and to collect our tax dollars with favorable court judgments. We need sensible conservation not protection of our resources. The protectionists want to return the land to the way it was during the Stone Age e.g. before the arrival of the fur trade. The reason it was still the stone ages because the indigenous peoples living here lacked metal weapons and accessories.5/12/2014 9:00 AM
  16. I believe our local ideas to help protect our back yards will do the best job 5/11/2014 5:20 PM
  17. This is a great opportunity to manage this forest range with some local control. This opportunity would help with fuels buildup and health of the forest. There is also some economic opportunities that should be explored also.5/11/2014 3:41PM
  18. Yes, the County can do a better job of managing our forest lands than the Federal Government. 5/11/2014 11:58 AM
  19. I feel that this project is a wonderful idea that should been done a long time ago! Any proposal that protects our forest health and provides benefits to our local area should be approved as soon aspossible!5/10/2014 9:48 AM
  20. Win-win-win… 5/9/2014 7:58 AM
  21. Thank you to Mr. Simpson for presenting this information to our group I feel this is a win/win situation for our area. Proper management of the forests is essential and the money generated from timber sales being used back in our communities is a sound practice.5/7/2014 9:44 AM
  22. This would be a great test how local management of our forest may be more efficient than federal management 5/5/2014 8:25 AM
  23. If the quality of our lakes and erosion of lands through the effects of fire then of course this should be investigated. Maybe a monthly article outlining the concern and efforts of what the SRMS is doing…Valley Journal perhaps? 5/4/2014 4:24 PM
  24. As a professional Forester with over 40 years of experience, I realize just how important forest health, soil erosion and water quality are to Lake County and the greater Western Montana area. Not only to maintain a high quality eco-system but to provide a healthy economy for the area. Over the last 4 decades the lack of forest management demonstrated by the US Forest Service has left our national forests in an unhealthy and extremely fire prone position. Forest disease and insect infestations have taken a heavy toll on our national forest. This has created an unprecedented fuel build-up leading to extreme wildfires and creating some of the hottest fires ever recorded. This scenario is not good for ANY forest related activity. I would welcome the continuation of the study initiated by the Conservation District. Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this issue. Please keep the public informed.5/4/2014 12:10 PM
  25. I think good sense management of forest resources is essential. 5/4/2014 11:07 AM
  26. We need to actively manage our forest to improve and maintain forest health. 5/4/2014 9:06 AM
  27. I believe this is a wonderful plan that should be followed through. 5/4/2014 6:43 AM
  28. I can’t think of a better way to manage our resources locally through this collaboration with the Forest Service. I hope our congressman can look at the benefits and support this.5/3/2014 10:29 PM
  29. I love the idea of 95,000 acres becoming productive. 5/3/2014 9:23 PM
  30. I find the concept interesting and would be curious to see what conclusions the study yields. 5/3/2014 8:58 PM
  31. It’s timely and a reasonable approach to local management of national lands. 5/3/2014 8:07 PM
  32. Good forest management prevents devastating forest fires, limits bug-kill of our forest, prevents soil erosion that pollutes our streams, and makes for sustainable timber harvest.5/3/2014 7:55 PM
  33. Need to be pro-active in forest management. There needs to be a reasonable balance in regard to timber harvest. Good forest practices that include tree harvest will reduce intensive forest fires, preserve soil and reduce sedimentation in streams.5/3/2014 7:46 PM
  34. I am concerned that control of the Federal lands will be taken from the residence of Montana and they will have no say in how much timber is cut. 5-12-14
  35. Also to ask and present at the local high schools, FFA, 4-H organizations. The ranchers and farmers will be more involved when their children become aware of this.
  36. Most of the time the current U S Forest Service people want to thin trees, log and area for fuel reduction or sell mature trees the U S Forest Service is in court and as a result knowledgeable people do not manage the forest but judges trained as lawyers are the forest managers. As a result we have smoke in the air, unsightly plumes, all plants are burned, and we get soil erosion, we lose jobs. If the State managed the forest it would be more difficult to stop professional forest managers in the court systems and Montana’s air and water would be cleaner. Money from tree sales should be used to improve the forest. I think local management of Montana forest would be an improvement over national management.
  37. Keep up the good work!


There were 9 Unfavorable Comments:

  1. I question the real motive behind this study. Flathead Forest in effect belongs to the people of the United States and, as such, should be managed for all the people. The Flathead Forest occupies portions of at least three counties. How would the proposed arrangement work with regard to counties other than Lake County?6/28/2014 12:16 AM
  2. County Govt. is neither capable of nor qualified to administer Federal Lands. This is a bad idea and national public lands need to be above local politics.6/27/2014 2:30 PM
  3. I own land and a home in Lake County which is adjacent to USFS land near Swan Lake. I believe the USFS and federal government does an excellent job managing federal lands, and better than DNRC is capable of doing.6/17/2014 8:05 PM
  4. This is an unrealistic and unnecessary endeavor. I do not think the US Congress will abdicate management of federal lands, I do not believe the DNRC would do a better job managing the forests, and I do not believe that forest management is necessary to protect water quality.6/17/2014 1:28 PM
  5. The national forests are a NATIONAL treasure. This is not something the ‘locals’ should decide. The state and counties can’t begin to cover the cost of fighting forest fires. Firefighting costs amount to millions each year, and when a fire hits a local area like the Swan we’ll be singing the praises of the Feds who fight it. Many other reasons to not go down this path. This is a very bad idea and it should be scrapped.5/19/2014 2:45 PM
  6. I do not support turning federal public lands over to any entity because of the obvious political and social effects of potential privatization of these lands. This is especially true in Lake County. Thanks, John in Polson  5/12/2014 9:59 AM
  7. Forest Service lands belong to ALL citizens of the United States, not to Lake County, not to the Conservation District and not to the state of Montana. I do not want my tax dollars wasted on a fruitless study.5/8/2014 1:19 PM
  8. Forest Service lands belong to ALL citizens of the United States, not to Lake County, not to the Conservation District and not to the state of Montana. I do not want my tax dollars wasted on a fruitless study.5/8/2014 1:17 PM
  9. 1. New roads that would be needed for logging will have a greater impact on water quality from sediment than fire. There are numerous scientific studies to support this.
    2. These are federal lands and they belong to all people in the US. not Lake County.
    3. Managing federal lands under state environmental laws will not protect or restore threatened species
    4. The LCCD does not have the funds for firefighting.
    5. Logging federal lands to subsidize private landowners septic systems, irrigation methods and private road dust control is not acceptable.
    6. No data has been presented to support the supposed “income” that would come from logging. Roads require maintenance, recreation sites require maintenance — this all costs money. More roads = more culverts = more sediment = degraded water quality. Drop this idea.


Summary of Results:

Although the attendance of these meetings was smaller than hoped for it opened up some good discussion not only about the Conservation Districts but also about resource management not only in the forest but in Lake County in general. The outreach to other groups was about as successful and every time a presentation was made a few survey results would show up. Once people heard the presentation they seemed to become interested and wanted to learn more. This study was conducted in a time when there is a lot of discussion about management of federal forest on the local level but also on the State and Federal level. Letters to the editor and opinion letters appear in the local newspapers on a regular periodic basis. The results of the survey are not large but the percentage of people for and against held fairly close throughout the 3 month process of the study. Roughly 75 % strongly agree and roughly 11 % strongly disagreed or somewhat disagreed. Another 10% somewhat agreed and about 4% are neutral’. The final results shown in the above graph are as of July 25, 2014.

The Lake County Conservation District (Swan Resource Management Study) Steering Committee also set up plans to try to reach out to its constituents through the social media. They decided to upgrade the Lake County Conservation District “web “page and set up a new ‘web “page for the Swan Resource Management Study. Both of these tasks were done during the month of May of 2014. Both of the ‘Web sites present interesting dialog and can be found to be very useful in finding out more about the Lake County Conservation District and the Swan Resource Management Study.

Click the link below to read the full report:

Survey Results

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