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Marshall Woods Restoration Project - Challenges to building consensus and conveying fire hazard mitigation and ecological restoration needs to the public

Author(s): Megan P. Keville
Year Published: 2018
Description:

The 28,000-acre Rattlesnake National Recreation Area (RNRA) lies immediately northwest of Missoula, Montana, and is a highly popular recreation destination with an estimated 60,000 annual visitors. The immediate area also contains thousands of residences situated within the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI). In 2005, Missoula County’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan identified the RNRA as having the 2nd highest wildfire risk in the county, which prompted the early stages of restoration planning in the 13,000-acre Marshall Woods project area.

In addition to reducing fire risk, the primary objectives of the project included forest restoration (enhancement of resilient vegetative communities, terrestrial habitats and water quality), reintroduction of fire, opportunities for restoration education, and recreation enhancements (e.g., trail improvements). The number of unique stakeholders invested in the project area resulted in a lengthy and, at times, contentious decision process, meaning that the final authorization and implementation of fuel reduction treatments, weed spraying and other actions did not begin until 2016. Through partnerships with local landowners, Missoula County, and the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (MT DNRC), the Lolo NF has observed increased acceptance and expansion of fuel reduction treatments to lands adjacent to the Marshall Woods Restoration project area, thereby increasing both the ecological and social effectiveness of the project.

Citation: Keville, Megan P. 2018. Marshall Woods Restoration Project - Challenges to building consensus and conveying fire hazard mitigation and ecological restoration needs to the public. Northern Rockies Fire Science Network Field Trip Summary No. 14: Fire Continuum Conference. 2018 May 21-24. Missoula, MT.
Topic(s): Fire Communication & Education, Public Perspectives of Fire Management, Fire & Recreation, Management Approaches, Risk, Risk assessment, Strategic Risk, Wildland Urban Interface, Wildland Urban Interface
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Research Brief or Fact Sheet
NRFSN number: 19686
Record updated: Jun 23, 2019