RGNF seeks public input on Cantonment Vegetation Project

SAGUACHE — The Rio Grande National Forest’s Saguache Ranger District is asking the public for input on a proposal for the Cantonment Vegetation Management Project. The 30-day public scoping period began on Feb. 11. Comments will be accepted until March 14.

Written comments should be submitted to the responsible official, Tristram Post, District Ranger, at: Saguache Ranger District, Attn: Cantonment Vegetation Management Project, 46525 State Hwy 114, Saguache, CO  81149

Written comments may also be sent via email to [email protected],  or via facsimile, to 719-655-2502 using the subject: Cantonment Vegetation Management Project.

The proposed project area is located in the Cantonment and Luders Creek drainages west of Saguache and south of State Highway 114 in Saguache County.

The need for the proposed project is to improve timber stand health and decrease fuel loading through timber management activities that focus on timber production, restoration and maintenance, according to RGNF officials. These objectives will be accomplished through a variety of silvicultural activities. Stands identified within the analysis area need treatment to reduce the impacts from western spruce budworm, dwarf mistletoe, overstocking, and poor stand health.

Project activities will:

  • Provide wood products that benefit the local and regional economies that depend upon National Forest timber resources;
  • Harvest-treat insect and disease infested trees before commercial value is lost;
  • Initiate management to enhance stand conditions to encourage suitable forested areas to be maintained with commercially valuable species at ages, densities, and sizes that allow growth rates and stand health conducive to providing a sustained yield of forest products; and
  • Reduce fuel loading to reduce fire intensity and increase resilience.

These activities would improve the overall forest ecosystem, moving it closer to desired conditions outlined in the 2020 Rio Grande National Forest Land Management Plan, forestry officials stated.

People can view the scoping letter, maps, and information about how to comment online at www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=61592. There will be additional opportunities for input as the planning process continues, but early participation is encouraged.