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“Economic Stimulus” Headed to MT, Bringing New Jobs

March 28, 2008

Missoula, MT – Montana will soon see new jobs in the trees. The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has outlined projects on national forest land in Montana, Northern Idaho and North Dakota this year that will create more than 60 area jobs. People will be put to work repairing crumbling roads and trails that can cause water quality problems. Scott Brennan with The Wilderness Society says the nearly $5 million comes as an unexpected "economic stimulus."

"If you look at the downturn in communities around the region recently, 65 new local jobs in these rural communities to do this restoration work is really exciting."

Brennan reports roads overdue for maintenance can damage water supplies on which people depend, as well as harming habitat for threatened species, such as bull trout and lynx.

"If they're not maintained properly, forest roads can deliver a lot of sediment to streams, which causes problems for fish populations and drinking water supplies."

The funding for the "Legacy Roads Initiative" is the most money ever spent specifically for USFS road repair and reclamation, according to Brennan. The Forest Service is in charge of 51,000 miles of roads in the Montana region.

Deborah Smith/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - MT