U.S. Forest Service

Daniel Rowe / Flickr

A conservation group has filed a lawsuit contending the U.S. Forest Service is violating environmental laws by issuing grazing permits to central Idaho livestock growers with a long history of violating permit restrictions.

Western Watersheds Project in the lawsuit filed Wednesday says the Forest Service is issuing the permits knowing cattle grazers aren't following guidelines in the area that also includes the newly-formed White Clouds Wilderness.

Idaho Parks and Recreation

A portion of a popular backcountry ski system in central Idaho will open this winter following a wildfire that burned through the area this summer.

The U.S. Forest Service and Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation said in a statement Thursday that two yurts in the Idaho City Backcountry Yurt System deemed safe will be available possibly as early as November.

National Interagency Fire Center/Facebook

When fire activity goes up, MAFFS (Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems) go into action. Right now, two DoD C-130 planes, equipped with this unique fire suppression system, are flying out of Boise.

The planes were called up by the National Interagency Fire Center. You may have seen the giant planes launching over Boise or video from an air drop over a wildfire. We found video of another side of MAFFS: Cleaning out the pipes before bringing on another load of retardant.

Richard Cassan / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal judge has halted a salvage logging project in northern Idaho at the request of two environmental groups that say it violates the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale on Thursday ruled the U.S. Forest Service cannot go ahead with the project near the Selway and Middle Fork Clearwater rivers that aims to harvest 34 million board feet of timber scorched by a 2014 wildfire.

The lightning-caused Johnson Bar Fire burned more than 20 square miles, mostly on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests.

Bryant Olsen / Flickr Creative Commons

U.S. Customs and Border Protection wants to reopen a northern Idaho road in designated grizzly bear habitat near the Canadian border the federal agency says is needed for national security.

A 6-mile section of Bog Creek Road in the Idaho Panhandle National Forests would be opened for official use to provide an east-west route in the Selkirk Mountains.

The road cuts through the Selkirk Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone and was closed in the 1980s to protect grizzlies. Officials say it has deteriorated and needs significant repairs.

House Approps GOP YouTube

Congressman Mike Simpson had some pointed things to say about public lands during a recent budget hearing on Capitol Hill with U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.

“Let me tell you why people live in Idaho," Simpson said. "They live in Idaho because they love their public lands. They like access to them for recreation, for hunting, for fishing, for all the activities that they do on public lands."

The U.S. Forest Service on Wednesday issued a notice of non-compliance to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game after the state agency violated an agreement by using a helicopter in a central Idaho wilderness to put tracking collars on wolves.

The two-page notice includes additional requirements the state must follow when seeking approval for future landings in wilderness areas.

The Forest Service on Jan. 6 approved Fish and Game's request to use helicopters in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness to put collars on elk.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The federal official who oversees the Salmon-Challis National Forest says Idaho Fish and Game’s unapproved collaring of four wolves in a wilderness area last week is a “big deal.”

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Three environmental groups have filed a lawsuit challenging a decision by the U.S. Forest Service that allows more than 100 helicopter landings this winter in a central Idaho wilderness area so state wildlife officials can put tracking collars on elk.

Wilderness Watch and two other groups in the lawsuit filed Thursday say the federal agency is violating the Wilderness Act by allowing helicopters into the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The U.S. Forest Service this week gave American CuMo Mining Corporation the go-ahead to explore for molybdenum, copper and silver between Idaho City and Garden Valley. If CuMo finds enough of the metals, it will seek permission to build a large open pit mine.

Environmental groups have been challenging the project for years. They say the exploration process alone endangers the headwaters of the Boise River, let alone the proposed mine.

The U.S. Forest Service has notified a conservation group that Idaho officials will not use a hired hunter to kill wolves in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness this winter.

Earthjustice in a statement says it received the notification Wednesday from the federal agency as required by the settlement of a federal lawsuit.

The letter from Forest Service officials to Earthjustice says the Idaho Department of Fish and Game notified the federal agency of its decision on Friday.

Forest History Society / Flickr

State officials have given their OK to modify a northern Idaho timber sale to include helicopter logging that will cost the state up to $1.5 million in lost revenue.

The Idaho Land Board voted 4-0 on Tuesday following a federal court ruling earlier this month that put the Selway Fire Salvage timber sale on hold by temporarily banning the use of a contested U.S. Forest Service road.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter says it's disappointing but the Land Board had little choice.

Marsha Davies

Volunteers are scheduled to break ground Saturday on the rebuilding of the Big Creek Lodge in the Payette National Forest.

For 75 years, Big Creek Lodge was the vacation spot for hundreds of pilots, campers, and firefighters, looking for adventure in the remote Payette National Forest. But seven years ago, the lodge burned to the ground.

Now, the Forest Service and a non-profit group are working to rebuild.

Rick Payette / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal judge has halted a salvage logging project on state land in northern Idaho by temporarily banning the use of a contested U.S. Forest Service road on private property.

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill in an 8-page decision released late Friday granted a temporary restraining order requested by the property owners and an environmental group.

Morgan and Olga Wright and Idaho Rivers United say the federal agency incorrectly approved the use of the road without issuing a special use permit.

Flickr Creative Commons, BLM/IFG

 Elko County's legal bills have exceeded $250,000 with no end in sight in a 16-year-old court battle with environmentalists and the U.S. government over control of a remote Forest Service road near the Nevada-Idaho state line.

Assistant District Attorney Kristen McQueary doesn't expect a judge to rule before the end of the year on conservationists' latest attempt to throw out a settlement agreement between the county and the Forest Service.

United States Forest Service, Mike McMillan / Flickr Creative Commons

A recent report published by the U.S. Forest Service shows that in 1995, 17 percent of the agency's budget went to fighting wildfires. By 2014, those efforts took up 51 percent of the agency's funding.

U.S. Forest Service

State and federal land managers are preparing to burn up to 30,977 acres across southwest Idaho to reduce excessive trees and brush that could contribute to larger wildfires later this year.

The U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the Idaho Department of Lands are coordinating to manage the intentional fires.

forest, trees, snow
U.S. Forest Service, Northern Region / Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Forest Service has decided not to spend $10 million on a five-year nationwide public relations campaign to brand itself as a public agency that cares about people and nature.

The agency was planning on the campaign at a time when it's struggling to pay for fighting wildfires, maintaining trails and offering timber for sale.

The Forest Service issued a statement Tuesday, saying it had not accepted any contract bids and would look for other ways to enhance the public's access to national forests and understanding about what the agency does.

snow, tree, weather
Jim Bauer / Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Forest Service's new supervisor for the 4-million-acre Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest in northern Idaho says the agency might offer more trees for sale.

Cheryl Probert says the Johnson Bar salvage and others projects related to the 9-square-mile fire last summer could increase timber harvest.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that Probert met on Monday with Clearwater County commissioners, who want more timber harvested.

U.S. Forest Service

 A slow wildfire season in the U.S. means the Forest Service won’t have to dip into other parts of its budget to cover firefighting expenses. The federal government’s fiscal year ends Tuesday. It’s the first time in three years the agency’s firefighting allotment will cover actual costs.

The Forest Service exceeded its firefighting budget by $505 million last summer, and $440 million the year before.