Forestry work set on Smuggler, Sky Mountain Park
Forestry work will begin in mid-September on Smuggler Mountain and at Sky Mountain Park, where forest health and habitat improvement are the respective goals, according to a statement issued by Pitkin County Open Space and Trails.
On Smuggler Mountain, five pockets of forest totaling nearly 8 acres will see tree cutting to spur greater age and species diversity within stands of lodgepole pine. The land is part of the White River National Forest, east of the Smuggler Mountain Open Space. This year’s work on Smuggler is a continuation of efforts to create a healthier forest and reduce wildfire risk by creating firebreaks.
The Hunter Creek-Smuggler Mountain Cooperative Plan, representing a collaboration between the U.S. Forest Service, the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, the city of Aspen and Pitkin County, directs a series of forestry projects in an area encompassing more than 4,000 acres of national forest adjacent to Aspen. Habitat, recreation and education projects also are outlined in the plan.
Cut trees will be hauled on Smuggler Mountain Road. In addition, there may be brief trail closures in the popular recreation area. Work is expected to begin around Sept. 15.
Also this fall, four areas of Gambel oak, totaling 105 acres, will be cut either by hand, with chain saws or by machinery at Sky Mountain Park, outside Snowmass Village. The clearing of overmature oak is intended to stimulate new growth and improve habitat for elk and deer while also providing firebreaks. All trails will remain open during the forestry work.
The habitat work on Sky Mountain Park is spelled out in the management plan for the open space.
Go to http://www.pitkinostprojects.com for more information on both of these projects.
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The pass will be closed from 8:30 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. east of Aspen from mile marker 59 to marker 62 to all vehicles, bicyclists and hikers.