Thinning projects completed in Junction Creek Area, hauling begins this weekend

Release Date: Oct 14, 2021

Durango, Colo., October 13, 2021 – The San Juan National Forest’s Columbine Ranger District recently completed a thinning project in the Junction Creek area and trucks will start hauling logs and small diameter wood beginning this weekend.  Active hauling will typically take place during working hours from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM from October 16 until snow is too deep to continue.

Trail users should be aware that trucks will be hauling on the Log Chutes 2 Trail (also referred to as Forest Service Road 171.B). The trail is not open to any other motorized traffic. Hauling for this project was deferred until a time when there is typically lower recreation use to minimize impacts to trail users.

Visitors should also watch for increased truck traffic along the Junction Creek Road (Forest Service Road 171). Please respect all trail and road traffic signs when traveling in or near this area.

The goal of this project is to improve forest health and reduce the risk of wildfire by removing the smaller, densely growing ponderosa pine trees on the 70-acre area. According to post-thinning monitoring data from Mountain Studies Institute and the Columbine Ranger District, the forest density and structural variability goals for the project were met. The “basal area,” or the amount of area occupied by trees, is now characteristic of a healthy ponderosa pine forest at 30 sq ft/acre to 80 sq ft/acre. The post-treatment monitoring also highlighted an increase in the distance from the forest floor to the lowest live branch within the tree canopy, known as crown base height. This increase means there is a lower likelihood that a fire will travel from the forest floor to the tree canopy. 

The Southwest Conservation Corps partnered with the Forest Service on an adjacent project just beyond the Log Chutes Parking Area by cutting and piling 40 acres this summer.

RMRI logo and textThis project area is in a landscape that has been identified as a priority for restoration by over a hundred local partners.  The project aligns with the goals of the Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative to protect communities, recreation economies, wildlife habitats, and water resources.

For more information about this project, please contact the Columbine Ranger District at (970) 884-2512. All offices on the San Juan National Forest are currently conducting business and providing services virtually. For information on the San Juan National Forest, call (970) 247-4874, visit the forest website, or follow us on social media (Twitter and Facebook).