Tree cutting begins on Iron Springs open space |

Tree cutting begins on Iron Springs open space

Summit Daily/Kristin SkvorcU.S. Forest Service Dillon District Ranger Rick Newton helps assess the forest behind Summit High School Wednesday for pine beetle infestation, and the group discusses what to do should a fire occur.

SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit County’s Open Space and Trails Department has begun cutting and removing trees on the Iron Springs open space parcel to improve forest health and control mountain pine beetle infestation. The 31-acre property is located in the Upper Blue Basin on the west side of Highway 9, adjacent to the north boundary of Summit High School.

Summit County has treated pine beetle infestation annually for the past three years since the property was purchased. A substantial increase in pine beetle-killed trees on the Iron Springs parcel and on the adjacent national forest land has caused officials to change strategies this year.

Two patch regeneration cuts totaling about four acres will be completed. “Forest treatments on the property are designed to improve age and species diversity of the trees,” said Brian Lorch, Open Space and Trails senior resource specialist, adding that the treatments will improve wildlife habitat in the short-run and result in a healthier forest in the long-run.

Lorch said the strategy was discussed at several public meetings leading up to the recent adoption of a management plan for the property by the Board of County Commissioners. Workers also are removing trees to treat for pine beetle infestation at the County Commons and on four other properties managed by the Open Space and Trails Department.

Tree removal from the site requires that logs be transported across the section of the paved rec path where the path leaves Highway 9 and climbs through the forest headed toward Frisco.Signs are posted along the rec path to warn users that they may encounter workers or machinery on and adjacent to the path. For information, call Lorch at (970) 668-4067 or e-mail

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