Cruising Timber on the Palisades District

With NEPA completed for the Flatiron project, timber and fuel crews are out cruising timber to prepare for a timber sale later this fall. Flatiron has a variety of objectives, ranging from stimulating aspen regrowth to protecting the local community from wildfire. While prescribed fire and mechanical treatments will play a role in achieving these objectives, another tool is a timber sale. “Nature is never simple,” said Forester Avery Beyer. “A combination of cutting and burning is the most effective way to regenerate aspen.”  By reducing the number of trees in the area, the soil is exposed to the sun increasing its temperature making it ripe for aspen growth. There is a calculated and meticulous method for determining which trees remain and which ones are harvested. Size, location to aspen and wildlife are all things crews consider as they mark trees. Crews move collectively through the forest in a line, calling out how many trees they’ve painted. Avery keeps a running record. Every 50th tree measurements are taken, which will assist the group in identifying how many board feet of timber is available for auction. The timber sale and accompanying prescribed fire activities will create the necessary disturbance for the agency to assist nature in returning to its more natural vegetative state. The Flatiron project will ultimately treat a 1533-acre footprint.

Caribou-Targhee Forester measuring the circumference of a tree