The U.S. Forest Service has issued a final notice on the Honey Badger forest management project and North Idaho could see project impacts as early as this summer.
The Honey Badger Project covers 52,600 acres of the Coeur d’Alene National Forest, including over 60% of the Hayden Lake Watershed, an area that poses high risk for fire, insect infestation and disease.
The project will improve forest health, reduce the potential for high-intensity wildfires, maintain or improve water quality and habitat and improve sustainable recreation options.
Residents and visitors will see the effects of project activities all along the slopes east of Hayden Lake, though it will take time for the changes to unfold. The full project implementation will be staggered over the next 20 years.
This year may see the beginning of prescribed burns in areas not subject to tree removal. Timber harvests, ranging from thinning to clear-cutting depending on forest health, won’t begin before 2025, with one or two contracts being awarded each year thereafter.
Each harvest will be followed closely by a prescribed burn and reforestation within five years.
According to Daniel Scaife, IPNF District Ranger, many factors can influence the timeline for timber sales and prescribed fire implementation. Factors such as unexpected wildfire cleanup, existing projects like the Kootenai Fuels Project, climate criteria, weather and firefighter availability can affect the Honey Badger timeline in the future.
Watch the Forest Service’s Honey Badger Project webpage for updates.