More Grand County trails closed by beetle-related logging activity | SkyHiNews.com

More Grand County trails closed by beetle-related logging activity

The Sulphur Ranger District (SRD) has added two new closures starting today, Feb. 25″the Zoom Trail and the area west of Elk Creek Road adjacent to the forest boundary which includes the small sledding hill in that area.

These routes and areas will be closed seven days a week to ensure public safety while logging operations are occurring.

The closures are being implemented earlier than originally anticipated.

Logging operations in the area shifted so that logging could be completed while minimizing disturbance to wildlife.

The Creekside, Chainsaw, and Flume trails are expected to remain closed seven days a week for the remainder of the winter. The Leland Creek Road is also closed from the Zoom Trail to the St. Louis Creek Road. The St. Louis Creek Road, however, has reopened for public access to the Deadhorse Trailhead.

The forest continues to use temporary closures and restrictions to address its concern for visitor safety and the need to complete bark beetle related projects. Safety is the No. 1 priority, and the public should be aware of a number of safety concerns in these areas.

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Visitors need to stay at least 100 yards away from all logging equipment and also need to be aware of hazards in areas already logged. These hazards include stumps, limbs, and downed logs that are not all marked and could be covered by snow.

This project is one of five the forest is currently implementing on 8,000 acres of the SRD. The purpose of these projects ranges from hazardous fuels reduction to individual hazard tree removal in developed sites. Beetle killed trees must be harvested within two to four years from the time the trees turn red to utilize the wood before it decays. This requires a year-round harvesting schedule. Logging over snow also helps protect watersheds, soil, and wildlife habitat in areas that are normally very wet and easily damaged in other seasons.

The bark beetle outbreak is so widespread that it affects all types of recreation activities. SRD has worked hard to keep the full range of recreation opportunities open while work occurs. Areas will be re-opened as quickly as possible after work is completed. There are still many other trails and areas open to the public on the Sulphur Ranger District. To find out more about where to recreate, contact visitor information at 970-887-4100.

For the latest information on bark beetle logging activities, check the forest’s Web site at http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/arnf/conditions/srdbarkbeetle/index.shtml. Here you will find maps of the projects and the latest on closures.

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