Thinning of trees on about 3,200 acres of overstocked Bitterroot National Forest land 11 miles east of Sula is another step closer.

Bitterroot National Forest Supervisor Julie King filed an environmental analysis and a Finding of No Significant Impact this week on the Meadow Vapor Project. The documents are available for public review, according to Public Affairs Officer Tod McKay.

The Meadow Vapor project encompasses over 11,000 acres, a portion of which will be logged to remove dense pockets of dead and dying trees due to insect damage, including western spruce budworm damage. The area, near the Springer Memorial and Bonanza communities, includes East Fork of the Bitterroot drainages Meadow Creek, Vapor Creek, Needle Creek, Lick Creek, Reynolds Creek and Tepee Creek.

The area was listed as a "high priority" for fuel reduction by the Bitterroot Community Wildfire Protection Plan. Trees include ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine and Douglas fir. About 5 million board feet of timber will be brought out.

Forest plans include two new Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) connector trails for vehicles less than 50 inches in width. There would be other road improvements and decommissioning, too.

The draft decision is open to public objection until March 20. To object, you must have made previous comments on the project. For more information, contact Eric Winthers, Darby/Sula District Ranger at (406) 821-3913.

The EA and other information can be found at the Meadow Vapor website.