Recreation hot-spot next to Nederland gets treated for fire and beetle

Release Date: May 14, 2012  

Boulder, Colo.(May 14, 2012) – Starting as early as June 1, 2012 Boulder Ranger District officials will close West Magnolia, a popular recreation area on National Forest System lands near Nederland, CO to complete a fuels reduction project.

Scheduled for closure the majority of summer 2012, US Forest Service officials will address safety concerns related to intense fire potential, and the number of hazard trees weakened by mountain pine beetle (MPB) infestation and recent wind events.

Acting District Ranger Dave Park reports, “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.” 

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 method for removal was designed to address current safety concerns while creating openings large enough to encourage different tree species to seed and diversify the landscape.  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

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.

For more information about the West Magnolia fuel treatment please visit 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.

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