Comments open for White River National Forest vegetation management plan

Summit Daily staff report

As the U.S.Forest Service is seeking comment for a potential forest-wide vegetation management project in the White River National Forest in Eagle, Garfield, Mesa, Pitkin, Rio Blanco and Summit counties.
Daily file photo

The White River National Forest is seeking public comments for a potential forest-wide vegetation management project in Eagle, Garfield, Mesa, Pitkin, Rio Blanco and Summit counties.

According to news release, the project is supposed to maintain existing critical fuel breaks and treatment areas next to communities and improve forest health in areas affected by the mountain pine beetle by removing small-diameter vegetation.

The plan calls for up to 1,000 acres of vegetation-management activities on National Forest lands annually. Those activities include:

• Continued management of live and dead fuels within previously created fuel breaks in the Wildland Urban Interface, or the area where the edge of developed communities meet forest land;

• Improving individual tree growth and improving forest health by reducing tree density in naturally regenerating stands of young lodgepole pine;

• Reducing the extent of insects or diseases in lodgepole pine stands;

• And continued enhancement of tree species diversity through maintaining and protecting young Engelmann spruce trees planted in areas affected by past spruce beetle outbreaks.

“In response to the mountain pine beetle epidemic, the White River National Forest has worked aggressively to reduce fuel concentrations in critical areas adjacent to communities and to promote the regeneration of lodgepole pine,” said forest supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams in a prepared statement. “However, we now have previously treated areas across the Forest that have regrown and are overly-dense and need maintenance to continue to be effective in the event of future wildfires.”

Over the last 15 years, the mountain pine beetle epidemic has left swaths of widespread, dead-standing trees.

The Forest is now soliciting for public comments on the proposed action and says comments specific to the proposed action that identify a cause-effect relationship are the most helpful.

Comments will be accepted at any time, but will be most helpful if submitted before Jan. 31. For more information, contact Limberis at the address listed above, call 970-827-5161 or email

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