Pine beetles and wind storms have created dangerous conditions around trails near Nederland
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Forest Service crews will tackle yet another patch of beetle-killed forest sometime in early June, logging about 330 acres in the popular West Magnolia recreation area near Nederland.
The area will be closed for most of the summer, as the agency tries to mitigate safety concerns associated with intense fire potential, and hazard trees weakened by mountain pine beetles, as well as recent wind events.
“In order to minimize risks to public safety in this popular area, we need to reduce fuels, address the mountain pine beetle, and get rid of hazardous trees along the roads and trails. These plans also support goals and objectives outlined in Boulder County and Nederland Community Wildfire Protection Plans,” said acting District Ranger Dave Park.
Crews will cut trees in parcels (up to 40 acres in size) and roadside areas totaling 330 acres. The majority of aspen and trees fewer than five inches in “diameter at breast height” (DBH) within the treatment parcels will be left. Trees in between treatment parcels and roadside cut sections will remain.
Treating these parcels will create a large visible change on the landscape since same-aged lodgepole trees must be cut in groups instead of thinned. Thinning in lodgepole dominated forest results in trees extremely susceptible to blow-down.
The Forest Service hopes the patch clearcut treatment will encourage more diversity as the forest regenerates. Diverse stands that contain a variety of tree ages and species are more resistant to the spread of MPB and unwanted wildfire behaviors.
Cutting and hauling will ideally be completed within two months, conditions allowing. Inclement weather and contract crew or equipment availability will play a role in start date and time necessary to complete cutting and hauling tasks.
County Road 132W (also called “Haul Road” or “West Magnolia Road”) within the West Magnolia area, will be closed to all uses during the project. A copy of the area closure order, map, and closure times will be posted on the web at: www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/westmagnolia. To ask questions or provide feedback, click on the “Email Boulder Ranger District Public Affairs” link at the bottom of the web page.
About a month after cutting and hauling activities subside, small sections of the area will be temporarily closed to restore compacted soils, repair damage made during treatment to Forest Service designated roads and trails, seed “landings” where cut trees were stacked for loading, and place erosion control devices. Unofficial roads and trails will not be re-opened.