Work on Smuggler Mountain set to start | AspenTimes.com

Work on Smuggler Mountain set to start

Staff report

Forestry work on Smuggler Mountain is expected to begin as early as Monday, affecting travel on Smuggler Mountain Road and causing temporary closures of some trails.

The ongoing project, being done in accordance with the Smuggler Mountain Forest Management Plan, is a collaboration between the city of Aspen, Pitkin County and the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, according to a county statement issued Friday.

The effort will include clearing about 5 acres of Gambel oak on a lower section of the mountain, bordered by Smuggler Mountain Road, plus work in stands of aspen and lodgepole pine higher on the mountain.

The projects are designed to promote forest health, improve wildlife habitat and reduce the risk of intense wildfire.

Hikers and mountain bikers using the road should be prepared to encounter increased truck traffic for the next two to three weeks while the work is underway. In addition, the Tootsie Roll and Lollipop trails on the Smuggler Mountain Open Space will see temporary closures while cut trees are being removed. Smuggler Mountain Road will remain open to travel.

The Smuggler forestry plan calls for management of aspen, mixed conifer and mountain shrublands on the mountain with the goal of clearing dead, overcrowded and overgrown vegetation that increases the risk of fire to homes bordering the mountain and does little to support wildlife.

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Aspen and Pitkin County thank Smuggler users for their patience during the project. For more information, call 970-429-2026 or 970-920-5355.

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