New research natural area proposed south of Mount Adams

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TROUT LAKE — Comments are welcome through Sept. 14 on a proposal to create Smith Butte Research Natural Area south of Mount Adams in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

The Forest Service is proposing an approximately 220-acre research natural area on Smith Butte, a volcanic cinder cone with steep sides and a base elevation of 3,700 feet.

The Gifford Pinchot forest land-use plan in 1990 proposed Smith Butte as a research natural area. RNAs are set aside as unaltered ecosystems for research, monitoring and storehouses of natural diversity.

Smith Butte RNA would preserve the only mature grand-fir zone forest on the eastern edge of the GPNF that has not be entered for timber harvest. A small meadow occupies about two acres near the summit of the butte.

No roads or trails are in the proposed area and no recreational facilities would be developed.

A draft environmental assessment will be completed later this year and a 30-day comment period will follow.

For more information, contact Andrea Ruchty at 509-395-3414 or write to her at Mount Adams Ranger District, 2455 Highway 141, Trout Lake, Wash., 98650. Comments can be emailed to comments-pacificnorthwest-giffordpinchot@fs.fed.us.

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