RGNF begins scoping project in CRD

RIO GRANDE NATIONAL FOREST — According to reports from Public Information Officer Gregg Goodland with the Rio Grande National Forest (RGNF), they are beginning a scoping project for the Conejos Ranger District and are seeking public input.

“We are currently seeking input on our Trail Gulch Vegetation Management project. The Rio Grande National Forest is seeking input from any interested public on the Trail Gulch Vegetation Management Project. The project area is 51,460 acres with approximately 13,200 acres identified for possible vegetation management activities over the next 10-15 years,” Goodland said.

“The project is intended to improve overall forest health and benefit multiple resources while preparing the landscape for prescribed and/or natural fire to play a role in restoring and maintaining healthy ecosystems. This includes implementation of fuels treatment around values such as subdivisions and the Conejos River corridor,” he added.

Goodland explained details pertaining to the project can be found online at www.fs.usda.gov/detail/riogrande/landmanagement/projects/?cid=fseprd923090. Or contact the Conejos Peak Ranger District at 719-274-8971.

According to project details, “The Conejos Peak Ranger District of the Rio Grande National Forest is proposing to treat up to 13,200 acres of a 51,460-acre project area in southern Colorado along and near the New Mexico border. Mechanical and prescribed fire treatments are proposed in anticipation of future natural disturbance processes such as wildfire that are likely to occur in portions of the project area over time. A large wildfire has the potential to produce more unfavorable effects than desired, in an area that has been deprived of natural fire for many years. The proposed treatments are designed to return fire to the landscape to promote more healthy forests and reduce long-term fuel buildup.

“It is anticipated that this proposed action would be implemented over 10 to 15 years after the final decision has been made. The Proposed Treatments include prescribed burning, hand thinning or mastication and commercial timber harvesting.

“The total project area is located near Osier and Fox Creek, Colorado with State Highway 17 bounding the project on the north and west, the Colorado state line on the south and a line from Fox Creek south to the state line on the east. The project area ranges in elevation from approximately 8,300 to 10,800 feet above sea level. Not all acres within the project area are being proposed for treatment. Only National Forest System land will be treated under this analysis. We are working with our multiple partners to encourage similar treatments on non-Forest Service lands in the area.”

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