Forest Service sets open house in Basalt on logging project in Fryingpan Valley | AspenTimes.com

Forest Service sets open house in Basalt on logging project in Fryingpan Valley

Staff report

The U.S. Forest Service has scheduled a second open house to inform the public about a forest health project planned in the Upper Fryingpan Valley.

The open house on the Upper Fryingpan Vegetation Management Project will be held Monday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Basalt Town Hall.

The agency held an earlier open house in Carbondale because officials said they couldn't find a large enough meeting space on that date in Basalt. There were some complaints that the meeting was held too far away from the people it affected the most.

The Forest Service wants to perform clearcuts and group selection harvests of trees on about 1,964 acres of national forest lands in Pitkin and Eagle counties.

The targeted area is roughly bound by Jakeman and Miller creeks on the west, Crooked Creek Pass on the north, the Holy Cross Wilderness on the east and the Fryingpan River to the south.

The proposal can be viewed at http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/? project=50171. The site includes a link for electronic submission of comments.

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The Forest Service is accepting comments on the project through Dec. 5. A handful of individuals and organizations have already commented, including Pitkin County. The county sought clarification on whether Frying Pan Road will be used as a haul route for trucks during the timber harvest.

"The Pitkin County Public Works director has identified public safety as an issue relating to the ability of the Frying Pan Road to accommodate estimates of a total of 700 to 933 loads by chip vans and/or log trucks over a distance of 31.2 miles into the town of Basalt and beyond," the county's statement said.

Parts of the road are constrained by limited width and curve radius, so there are questions about capacity to handle logging trucks, according to the county.

"In addition, there is the safety aspect of introducing logging truck traffic on a narrow road that is used regularly for residential access, bicycling, access to Ruedi Reservoir and recreation on public lands," the county comments said.