PIERRE, S.D. - South Dakota Attorney General Marty J. Jackley announces the State’s intention to file a motion to intervene into the litigation over the Norbeck Wildlife and Timber Management Project in order to protect state interests including Custer State Park.
On September 3, 2010, environmentalists filed a lawsuit in the Federal District Court in Colorado against the United States Forest Service over the Norbeck Wildlife Project scheduled for this fall and winter. The State of South Dakota has cooperated with the Forest Service in analyzing and developing the Norbeck Wildlife Project. The goal of the Norbeck Project is “to improve habitat conditions for game animals and birds on National Forest System land within the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve and to reduce the risk and consequence of fire escaping from the Black Elk Wilderness.” In the densely forested Norbeck area, mountain pine beetles have caused heavy mortality of stands of Ponderosa Pine, with the Forest Service estimating fire hazard at 77% or more in the Norbeck Project area.
The Norbeck Wildlife Preserve encompasses a portion of Custer State Park, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, the Black Elk Wilderness Area and private property. The mountain pine beetle outbreak is adversely affecting federal lands, Custer State Park, and privately owned property. The outcome of the present litigation is likely to affect the State’s ability to engage in effective control of the mountain pine beetle and forest fires.
“Both the State and the National Forest Service are seeking to improve, strengthen, and grow a healthier forest in the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve Area for everyone to enjoy,” stated the Attorney General Marty Jackley. “While the environmentalist groups may be well intentioned, the pine beetle infestation requires a responsible forestry plan to protect our forest, as well as Custer State Park, Mount Rushmore and private lands.” The Petition to Intervene will be filed within the next few days.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, October 8, 2010
CONTACT: Paige Wilbur, (605) 773-3215