WARD, Colo. – U.S. Forest Service contractors are expected to begin work this week on a project that will improve forest health on the Roosevelt National Forest northeast of Ward and north of Gold Lake Road. The work will occur on some 180 acres of National Forest System land.
This type of forestry work is designed to reduce existing fuel loading and increase the vegetative diversity across the landscape, encouraging a healthier, more resilient forest for future generations. Diversity in the age, size and species of trees across the landscape helps make forests more resilient to climate change, disease and insect infestations, and helps reduce the spread and severity of wildfire.
This particular parcel, called the Ward Units, will have two types of treatments implemented, depending on the dominant vegetation type. In lodgepole pine dominated stands, a combination of small openings and thinning will be implemented. The work involves cutting both live and dead trees in small openings and thinning to provide forest stand variation in a homogenous landscape.
In units where mixed conifer species exist, a thinning treatment will occur. For this treatment, individual trees have been hand-selected for thinning to promote forest health and diversity. Additional benefits include the reduction of ladder fuels and the improvement of wildlife habitat. Aspen stands and open meadows will be enhanced and expanded, improving wildlife habitat for a diversity of species.
Trees in these areas will be cut by hand using chainsaws. Smaller material will be piled to burn and/or chip and will need to cure for several years before it can be burned. Larger material will be cut into four-foot lengths and left on the forest floor. Once work begins, crews are expected to be on site for several weeks, working between the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Environmental effects of this project were analyzed in the James Creek Environmental Assessment (2004).
For more information on this project, contact Boulder Ranger District community liaison K. Reid Armstrong at 303-541-2532. To receive updates about Boulder Ranger District happenings, email firstname.lastname@example.org.