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Forest Service Seeking Comments on Lower Snake Wildland-Urban Interface Project in Summit County

Silverthorne, Colo. – Jan. 12, 2017 - The Dillon Ranger District of the White River National Forest welcomes your comments on its proposal to implement approximately 857 acres of vegetation management activities on National Forest System lands located in Summit County, Colorado.

images-11.jpegApproximately 99% of Summit County’s total population lives in the wildland-urban interface (WUI). Hazardous fuel reduction projects near communities in the WUI are consistent with the Summit County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) and consistent with Forest Service priorities to restore forest health and resiliency especially in areas adjacent to communities.

“The Farm Bill encourages us to identify areas of critical importance near communities to conduct vegetation management and fuel reduction especially in areas affected by insect infestation,” stated Bill Jackson, Dillon District Ranger. “We are focused on priority treatment areas identified through years of public collaboration and the Lower Snake Project will help accomplish those objectives.”

Vegetation treatments will improve forest resistance and resilience to potential future disturbances such as insects and fire. The project will also reduce the extent of dwarf mistletoe infection in regenerating lodgepole pine stands that have been affected by the recent mountain pine beetle epidemic and reduce the accumulation of future heavy fuel loading. Potential treatment will occur in the vicinity of Montezuma Road, Frey Gulch (north of Keystone), Keystone Gulch, Tenderfoot Mountain and along Swan Mountain Road. 

“We are committed to treating areas that make sense for long-term benefits of the local communities and the forest,” stated Jackson.

Lodgepole pine makes up approximately 74% of the forested area within the Lower Snake WUI project area. On average approximately 50% of the mature lodgepole pine has been killed by mountain pine beetle. Additionally, about 80% of the live lodgepole pine sampled in the Tenderfoot area was infected with dwarf mistletoe.  Dwarf mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows on branches and boles of lodgepole pine and causes growth loss and increased tree mortality. 

Other benefits of the project include reducing flammable vegetation along primary ingress/egress routes in the project area including Montezuma Road and Swan Mountain Road, protecting critical watersheds and ski area recreation infrastructure from future fire, and giving firefighters a place from which to safely engage fire.

An informational public meeting is planned during the monthly Summit County Forest Health Task Force meeting on Jan. 18, from 12 p.m. -1:30 p.m. at the Summit County Commons in Frisco.

How to Comment:

The Forest is now seeking public comments on the proposed action. Your feedback on this proposal will assist in refining design features and in identifying potential issues that may not have been raised during the collaborative process.  Comments specific to the proposed action that identify a cause-effect relationship are most helpful. 

 

Electronic comments including attachments can be submitted to:

https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/CommentInput?Project=46192

 

Hardcopy comments can be mailed, hand-delivered or faxed as follows:

 

Mail                                                                                       Hand Deliver

White River National Forest                                        White River National Forest

Attn: Shelby Limberis                                                     Dillon Ranger District

PO Box 190                                                                         Attn:  Shelby Limberis

Minturn, CO 81645                                                          680 Blue River Parkway

                                                                                                Silverthorne, CO 80498

 

Faxed to (970) 827-9343.  Be sure to note on the cover page that comments are for the Lower Snake WUI Project, Attn: Shelby Limberis.

 

Comments will be accepted any time, but will be most helpful if submitted prior to Feb. 13, 2017.  Names and contact information submitted with comments will become part of the public record and may be released under the Freedom of Information Act.  It is anticipated that this project will use a Categorical Exclusion (CE).  A CE is a category of actions established by either the Secretary (of Agriculture), the Chief, or by statute, and is excluded from documentation in an Environmental Assessment (EA) or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).  This project may fall within a category of actions established by statute for insect and disease infestation per Section 603 of HFRA (16 U.S.C. 659 1b).

Additional information regarding this action can be obtained from: Shelby Limberis, PO Box 190, Minturn, Colorado, 81645; by phone: (970) 827-5161; or by email:  slimberis@fs.fed.us.