The Missoula Technology and Development Center (MTDC)
began as the support facility for Forest Service fire management
in the late 1940's, when a small group started developing
techniques for parachuting men and cargo. In the early
1960's, the center's role was expanded to a Service-wide
technical center with a nationwide program that now encompasses
all Forest Service equipment needs. Today, MTDC works with
Federal and State agencies, universities, private firms,
and research groups to meet its responsibilities to resource
What is MTDC?
MTDC is one of four detached units of the Engineering
Staff in Washington, DC, and serves Forest Service Regions
and cooperating Federal and State agencies. MTDC makes
equipment, information, concepts, and ideas available so
Federal and State agencies can better manage the millions
of acres of public land.
- Interviews Forest Service personnel to help identify
- Surveys commercial markets and tests promising products.
- Designs, builds, and tests prototype equipment.
- Cooperates with private industry to develop commercial
- Maintains specifications and standards for fire and
- Disseminates publications, fabrication drawings, project
films, and audiovisual programs.
Wide-ranging problem solving in resource management demands
varied skills. Equipment specialists, engineers, writers,
foresters, draftsmen, technicians, illustrators, and photographers
all work as project team members to accomplish goals.
Staff members have worked on projects in fire and aviation,
timber, occupational safety and health, engineering, forest
pest management, range and disturbed land rehabilitation,
watershed, wildlife, cooperative forestry, forest residues,
recreation, and law enforcement.
The team approach has resulted in these
nursery pickup system
- Chunkwood chipper for utilizing slash
- Audiovisual on crew supervision and safety
- Satellite navigation and position locating system
- The Salmon Blade scarifier
- Improved firefighter's clothing and equipment
- Improved aircraft restraint system for cargo and smokejumpers
- Electronic tree measurement devices
- Placement guide for traffic control devices
- Orchard netting retrieval machine
- Audiovisual showing how to order and inspect Forest
- Improved aerial ignition equipment
- Disk chain for range improvement
- Fire shelter training facilitator's guide
- Sign maintenance guide for Forest Service signs.
MTDC is located in an area noted for timber, water, range,
wildlife, and recreation, ensuring ready contact with resource
managers and their problems. Within 150 miles of MTDC are
more than 22 million acres of National Forest (about one-eighth
of the total National Forest System) and millions of acres
of National Forest Wilderness.
MTDC occupies buildings at the Forest Service campus near
the airport in Missoula, MT. The headquarters includes
the offices for most of the staff, an electronics laboratory
to design and test instrumentation for a variety of resource
needs, a softgoods shop for making items of fabric and
webbing, and an equipment fabrication shop and test facility.
Missoula Technology and Development Center (MTDC)
5785 Hwy 10 W
Missoula, MT 59808