Hazard tree removal under way in Kawuneeche Valley | SkyHiNews.com

Hazard tree removal under way in Kawuneeche Valley

Special to the Sky-Hi News
A massive washout at the Beaver Creek U.S. Forest Service road, seen here, has been temporarily repaired. The U.S. Forest Service cautions motorist in its use.

GRAND LAKE – Trailside hazard tree removal work has begunin the Arapaho National Forest Kawuneeche Valley. This project will clear dead and dying trees along some 28 miles of motorized trail in the Stillwater area. A contracted crew of nearly 20 people began work Sept. 14 on Blizzard Pass Trail (M121), which rendered the area closed. The area should be considered very dangerous as crews are working rapidly, felling trees across the trail. Soda Pass, Middle Supply, Eagle Perch, North/South Trail, North Supply Loop and Burn trails are also scheduled for tree clearing in the coming weeks. After completing trail work along Kawuneeche Road, crews will begin working around Stillwater Pass Road where they will remove hazard trees along Sherman Creek, Gilsonite I, Gilsonite II, Lower Gilsonite, Camway, Little Gravel Bypass and Beaver Line trails. In addition, Forest Service crews are cutting hazard trees along portions of Lower Soda Pass and Arapaho Pass, both non-motorized trails.Crews are felling all dead and dying trees over five inches in diameter within 66 feet of the trail. The fallen trees are being left on the ground and the trails are being reopened as crews move out of the area. Some dispersed campsites may also be impacted. By reducing the number of dead, dying, broken, leaning and hanging trees left by the Mountain Pine beetle epidemic, the Forest Service aims to make its system trails safer, especially for ATV and dirt-bike riders who travel at faster speeds and are, therefore, more at risk. Through projects like these, the Sulphur Ranger District is working to keep popular recreation areas open to the public.

Culvert construction will temporarily close two U.S. Forest Service roads in the Stillwater area of the Sulphur Ranger District near Grand Lake. Kauffman Creek Road (121.1) will be closed to through traffic beginning Monday, Sept. 19. The construction site will be located at the junction of Kauffman Creek and Stillwater Pass Road (123). Road work will close the road for two to three weeks. Culvert construction will also close Stillwater Pass Road at milepost 14.1 approximately 6 miles from CO 125 for the same period of time. No through traffic will be allowed during construction. The old culverts are being replaced with larger, bottomless culverts that are better designed to handle the higher runoff the area has been experiencing since the beetle kill epidemic began. The bottomless culvert increases the ability of species such as brook trout to travel to their spawning areas.

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