Welcome to the Forest Service’s idea of forest ‘restoration’ in a popular recreation area, where there were good signs of regeneration
SUMMIT COUNTY — During an early morning dog-walking session along the Dillon Dam Road, I drove past the Old Dillon Reservoir trailhead and did a quick double-take. After previous thinning and some selective cutting, the Forest Service has apparently decided to go back and finish off what was left of the forest in that area once and for all.
I now have a much better sense of why people in the Peak 7 neighborhood are so concerned about the proposed Breckenridge fuels treatment project proposed for their neighborhood. That project, by the way, was still pending final review by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as of a few weeks ago.
I understand that there is a lot of industrial-scale work planned around the Old Dillon Reservoir enlargement and I followed the NEPA process pretty closely, scrutinizing the maps and speaking frequently with Forest Service and county officials about the plan.
Even after all that, I wasn’t prepared for what I saw at the trailhead this morning. Bluntly, it’s almost unrecognizable. In an area that was showing significant signs of regeneration, with young lodgepoles growing at the rate of at least six to 12 inches per year, there is now only compacted earth and a double-wide logging road leading to the slopes above.
It’s going to be a long time before this area is suitable for recreation again.