Smoke from the 2011 Up Top Fire billows around Gird Point Lookout. Credit: USFS

Project Name:
Up Top Fire Reforestation

Location:
Bitterroot National Forest, Mont. and Idaho

Key Activities:

  • Planting 180,000 trees across 600 acres
  • Reforesting an ecosystem damaged by wildfire
  • Restoring a unique recreation area


Project Description:
American Forests and the U.S. Forest Service are reforesting 600 acres of Bitterroot National Forest with 180,000 lodgepole pine, Engelmann spruce and Douglas-fir to reforest a popular recreation area affected by a 2011 wildfire.

Why This Project:
In 2011, the Up Top Fire burned across 13,286 acres of Bitterroot National Forest. The Up Top Fire was actually one of a series of wildfires sparked by lightning strikes, but it consumed the most acreage. Affected was the historic Gird Point Lookout and surrounding hiking and biking trails.

Half of the 1.8 million-acre Bitterroot National Forest is pristine wilderness, the largest continuous expanse in the lower 48 states. It’s also home to a variety of wildlife, including mule and whitetail deer, elk, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, black bear, mountain lion and moose. By planting a combination of lodgepole pine, Engelmann spruce and Douglas-fir, the project is helping reestablish the area’s biodiversity and improve food and habitat for wildlife.

Why Gird Point Lookout:
Sitting eight feet off the ground at 7,702 feet elevation, the historic Gird Point Lookout offers a panoramic view of the Sapphire, Bitterroot and Anaconda Pintler mountain ranges. The cabin was originally built as an observation point for fires in the Hamilton/Skalkaho area of the forest, and in 2001, the U.S. Forest Service restored the cabin, creating a unique camping and recreation experience for Bitterroot’s visitors.


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