Forest Service OKs Eagle County pine tree plan | SkyHiNews.com

Forest Service OKs Eagle County pine tree plan

Vail Daily Staff Report

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Local forest officials have signed off on plans to remove some beetle-infested pines from certain areas within the White River National Forest.

The project aims to promote forest health and reduce fire fuels on about 1,763 acres of lodgepole pines within the Eagle/Holy Cross Ranger District. Work will take place within the Indian Creek, West Grouse, Tigiwon and Yoder areas in the upper Eagle River watershed.

Dave Neely, district ranger for the Eagle/Holy Cross Ranger District recently signed a decision notice for the work, named the “Upper Eagle River Beetle Salvage Project.”

The project strives to accelerate regeneration of forest stands killed by mountain pine beetle and, where feasible, increase the distribution of aspen, spruce and fir trees. Also, the project will set out to prepare the sites for planting and natural regeneration by removing dead, dying and susceptible lodgepole pines that would interfere with regeneration.

Additionally, the work will aim to reduce fuels for fires in the forest over the long term by removing dead, dying and susceptible trees. It will reduce hazardous fuels in areas around the town of Minturn where wilderness abuts human development. It will also generate salvage revenues while the trees are still able to be sold to help offset the costs of treatment and reforestation.

The project also aims to provide safety zones and anchor points for firefighting efforts in the event of a wildfire. It also hopes to protect recreation facilities, keep roads and trails open and provide for public safety by removing dead, dying and susceptible trees that would eventually fall. The supplemental environmental analysis was completed using the 2003 Healthy Forest Restoration Act.

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“The bottom line here is that we have a responsibility to manage for healthy forest ecosystems while providing for the health and safety of the public and our employees as they use and work in the forest,” Neely said. “This project helps us do that.”

The environmental assessment and decision notice are available online at http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/whiteriver/projects/ or at the Holy Cross Ranger District Office. For more information or to request a hard copy, contact Cary Green at 24747 U.S. Highway 24, P.O. Box 190, Minturn, CO, 81645. Contact him by phone at 970-827-5160 or e-mail at cgreen@fs.fed.us.

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