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Timber Harvesting Provides Better Outdoor Recreational Experiences

Timber harvesting is a vital tool for forest management and, when applied strategically and sustainably, can contribute to the health and safety of our forests, communities, and environment. It can also enhance woodland safety and enjoyment.

A well-planned timber harvest can leave the forest looking like it wasn’t harvested at all and make your next outdoor recreational activity, whether hiking, mountain biking, camping, hunting, birdwatching, or photography, a more enjoyable and safer experience.

Some of the ways timber harvesting enhances outdoor recreation include:

· Providing access.

Timber harvesters create roads to access job sites. They also provide recreationists access to parts of a forest that could not previously be easily accessed or accessed at all. These roads also provide vital access for firefighters fighting wildfires.

· Creating a healthier and safer environment.

For recreationists, a healthier forest means a safer forest to travel through and enjoy. Strategic removal of select trees relieves excessive growth and overcrowding, providing a better environment for growing healthy trees and plants. And by removing dead and diseased trees, we can stop the spread of damaging bacteria, fungi, and insect infestations.

· Creating open spaces.

Timber harvesting creates open spaces, which serve many purposes beyond providing beautiful areas to recreate, such as increasing plant diversity, improving wildlife habitat, and providing fire breaks to aid firefighters.

· Enhancing the beauty of our forests.

Walking through a healthy, well-managed forest free of diseased trees and thriving with diverse flora and fauna, you cannot help but appreciate its beauty and connect with nature. Some believe it is even a spiritual or therapeutic experience.

Montana timber harvesters are dedicated stewards of our state’s forests. They are committed to responsible forest management practices to ensure generations of healthy, beautiful forests for future Montanans.

How can you help contribute to the health of Montana’s forests?

  • If you packed it in, pack it out - especially trash!

  • Be aware of and follow campfire restrictions and forest fire warnings.

  • Extinguish your campfire properly to prevent wildfires. Allow the wood to burn completely to ash. Follow Smokey the Bear’s steps to extinguishing a campfire properly:

**Pour lots of water onto the fire. Drown ALL embers, not just the red ones. Pour until the hissing sound stops.

**If you do not have water, stir dirt or sand into the embers with a shovel to bury the fires.

**With your shovel, scrape any remaining sticks and logs to remove embers. Make sure that no embers are exposed and still smoldering.

**Continue adding water, dirt, or sand and stirring with a shovel until all material is cool.

**Remember: If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.

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