The Boulder County Parks and Open Space Department will conduct a forest thinning project at Heil Valley Ranch Open Space beginning tomorrow Wednesday, October 27, 2010.
The department hired a local contractor to mechanically thin 130 acres of ponderosa pine forest in an attempt to create a mosaic of openings and uneven-aged groupings of trees.
The mechanical treatment involves the use of two machines: a harvester that fells, delimbs, and bucks trees into standard log lengths, and a forwarder to haul wood material off-site.
It is likely that open space visitors will hear mechanized forestry equipment operating near the Ponderosa Loop Trail. Logging trucks will use interior access roads to transport trees. The department advises people to remain on trail and not attempt to see the operation for safety considerations.
Like so many ponderosa pine forests along the Front Range, the area is unnaturally dense due to years of fire suppression. The department’s goal is to have a healthier forest that is less susceptible to insects, disease or catastrophic wild fires.
The project will take place at Heil Valley Ranch Open Space through the winter months.