U.S. Forest Service and Colorado State Forest Service Join Forces on Big Willow Salvage Timber Sale

Contact(s): Kimberlee Phillips 970-874-6717, Dylan Peters 970-874-6625

The Gunnison Ranger District of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests and the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) have announced the sale of the Big Willow Salvage Timber Sale through the utilization of the Good Neighbor Authority (GNA). The project is designed to remove standing dead timber from the forest while it still retains its commercial value.

The 2,155-acre Big Willow Salvage Timber Sale, located on the Alpine Plateau, is the largest timber sale ever administered by the CSFS through the GNA, which allows for effective sharing of resources between federal and state agencies for cross-boundary forest treatments on federal lands. The GNA provides increased work capacity for both the USFS and CSFS handling time-sensitive projects of public interest. The CSFS Montrose and Gunnison field offices undertook this project at the request of local legislators and GMUG administrators.

The project targets Engelmann spruce that succumbed to spruce beetle infestations after years of above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation. Project treatment goals include the removal of dead trees to create defensible space near both the Arrowhead and Blue Mesa subdivisions, reducing serious wildfire threats around the communities. The project also will reduce safety risks to the public by removing hazard trees along roads and trails, while supporting the local timber industry and helping to facilitate forest recovery. Following treatment, areas without a sufficient number of trees will be replanted by GMUG and CSFS crews.

“This partnership demonstrates how we are continuing to improve our ability to provide stewardship of Colorado’s forestlands through the use of the Good Neighbor Authority,” said Joe Duda, CSFS Deputy State Forester.

“Being able to utilize both federal and state resources to help positively impact our surrounding communities is a very exciting accomplishment for all those involved” said Acting GMUG Forest Supervisor Chad Stewart “We look forward to a continued and productive collaboration with Colorado State Forest Service”.