“A good neighbor increases the value of your property.” — Czech Proverb
ARIZONA — Every Forest Service employee knows their work helps steward our Nation’s public lands, but we often forget that this same work pays huge dividends to our neighbors as well. No community knows this better than the small city of Williams, Arizona, which is surrounded by Kaibab National Forest. Known as the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon,” Williams is more than a pass-through for tourists on their way to the landmark. It is a destination unto itself as well as a cherished home to many, and Kaibab employees, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, are working to keep it that way with several forest restoration projects near the city.
Tree thinning within the 2,496-acre Clover project began this week and will continue over the next two years. The work is occurring within the larger 15,200-acre Bill Williams Mountain Restoration Project and is a top treatment priority due to the area being the primary watershed and municipal water supply for Williams.
“Getting this work accomplished is incredibly important to us as forest managers and as members of the Williams community,” said Samantha Flores, timber staff officer. “By partnering with The Nature Conservancy through a stewardship agreement, we are able to meet shared goals of greatly improving forest and watershed health while making Williams safer in the long run from threats like wildfire and flooding.”
In addition to Clover, Kaibab employees laid out more than 3,500 acres to be included in future timber sales to be offered to local contractors and businesses. Another 200 acres are being treated using heavy equipment, while 700 acres are being thinned using chainsaws due to the mountain’s steep slopes.
“For many years, we have been working toward this goal of treating Bill Williams Mountain in a significant way that will help not only in terms of forest health but also community protection and public safety,” said Mike Uebel, fuels program manager. “To see all of the time, energy and preparation we’ve put into this turning into work on the ground is very rewarding and something we hope the Williams community will be pleased to see in action.”