Beetle-related logging closes trails in Fraser Experimental Forest | SkyHiNews.com

Beetle-related logging closes trails in Fraser Experimental Forest

Stephanie Miller
Sky-Hi Daily News

Stepanie Miller/Sky-Hi Daily News

The entire length of Flume Trail has now been closed because of logging, and Forest Service officials strongly encourage users to exercise caution around the Experimental Forest area.

The area is undergoing heavy beetle kill mitigation, with logging taking place in several areas. The intersection of St. Louis Creek Road and Leland Creek Road, near the Fraser Experimental Forest headquarters, has been closed, and no snowmobiling is currently allowed inside the Experimental Forest.

Mike Ricketts of the Forest Service advises users to be careful when accessing nearby trails or avoid them completely.

The Vasquez area near the end of Arapahoe Road in Winter Park is a good alternative, he pointed out. Logging is not expected to take place in that area any time soon, although logging is expected to begin in the Vasquez Creek and Elk Creek areas this winter.

As for the Flume trail, Ricketts expects logging to take place there through December and perhaps longer.

“I encourage people to use other areas for the time being. (Flume) is active and very dangerous to go around a logging operation,” Ricketts said. “People have been going through the closure, and that’s not a good thing.”

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The Chainsaw Trail is open, and people can access it from Northwest Passage, where it crosses St. Louis Creek Road and turns into Creekside Trail, veers left and leads to a wooden bridge. From there, users can access Chainsaw, Ricketts said.

Chainsaw leads to Grand Elk Meadows, which is open to users and can also be accessed from CR 72 (past the Fraser Tubing Hill).

The Creekside Trail is also open, but it is also a snowmobile route so users should use caution. Ricketts added that a logging unit may start logging in that area soon ” maybe even next week ” so Creekside could be closed in the near future.

St. Louis Creek Road continues to be a heavy trucking area, so snowmobile riders and others users need to be extremely cautious, even when parking.

“It’s not just about trees falling ” there’s big equipment moving around, and lots of activity. We encourage people to go to the Vasquez area,” Ricketts said.

Heavy truck traffic is also expected to take place on County Roads 73, 50S, 50 and 5.

The main message for users, Ricketts said, is to follow signs. Logging conditions can change quickly, and the Forest Service hopes to keep signage updated to inform users and keep them safe.

Logging along the Fraser Experimental Forest area is part of the Upper Fraser 1 phase of the Sulphur Ranger District bark beetle projects. The Sulphur Ranger District hopes to reduce the impacts of potential wildfire to communities and watersheds through these projects.

The district encompasses 442,000 acres “183,000 of which are lodgepole pines that are at-risk. Roughly 73,000 acres are potentially treatable acres.

To date, decisions to treat 11,000 acres have been completed, with 7,500 acres under contract and 3,500 acres treated.

For more information and updates, visit

http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/arnf/conditions/srdbarkbeetle/index.shtml.

” To reach Stephanie Miller, call (970) 887-3334, ext. 19601 or e-mail smiller@grandcountynews.com.

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