Tree-thinning work aimed at forest health resumes along Fourmile Road this month | PostIndependent.com
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Tree-thinning work aimed at forest health resumes along Fourmile Road this month

In this file photo from a past fall season, clouds move through the Four Mile Park area south of Glenwood Springs on White River National Forest land.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

White River National Forest officials advise that winter recreationists using Fourmile Road above Glenwood Springs may encounter logging traffic Monday through Friday starting this month, as two projects aimed at improving forest health begin.

An aspen-regeneration project across four areas, totaling 109 acres, is underway east and south of Fourmile Park, the local forest agency said in a news release. Aspen stands need periodic disturbance, and clear-cutting and removing mature aspen stimulates their root system to vigorously regenerate, the release states.

Trees are to be felled, chipped on site and trucked to the biomass plant in Gypsum.



In addition, a spruce-fir regeneration project is under way farther up Fourmile Road in the Countyline area. There, small (0.5-2 acres) patches of spruce-fir will be cut from seven units, totaling 823 acres, the release states. The logs are being trucked to a mill in Montrose.

Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir respond well to these smaller area cuts, forest managers explained.  



“This work will help ensure the long-term health of forests in this area by creating size and age diversity,” Aspen-Sopris District Ranger Kevin Warner said in the release. “The work will also improve wildlife habitat.”

The work is expected to result in up to 20 heavy trucks a day traveling Fourmile Road (FSR 300) on weekdays. The road remains open to the Fourmile Park gate and kiosk, but parking will be only be allowed along one side of the road to ensure enough room is available for large trucks and other vehicles.

The snowmobile parking area near the U.S. Forest Service boundary will be open this year. Snowmobilers will be able to access an alternate, groomed trail across Black Hills Energy property to bypass the plowed portions of Fourmile Road.

The projects are anticipated to continue through the winter. Additional units will be cut in the area over the next several years. 

“This is a very popular area for a variety of recreational activities year-round, and it is an important area for other multiple uses on the Forest, including timber work and summer grazing,” Warner said. “We appreciate everyone’s patience and willingness to respect all the different activities occurring.” 

For more information, call the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District, 970-963-2266, or visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver.

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