Logging Operations Change Local Landscape
Even though the U.S. Forest Service’s (USFS) “Tennessee Creek Project” (TCP) has been in the works since 2012, to see its results today has been a stringing slap in the face for many Lake County residents. And even though the Forest Service’s six-year messaging behind the project – “to create forest conditions that are more resilient to insects, diseases and fire to provide for sustainable watershed conditions – ” has been consistently presented to the public, for most locals seeing their nearby woods slashed down and hauled off in the back of trucks has been a startling wake up call to where things are likely to be headed for Lake County.
If you haven’t been out to view the logging operations near Turquoise Lake along County Roads 4 and 9C, you may see the results of those operations in the following Leadville Today video.
The TCP involves several locations including, Halfmoon Creek, Turquoise Lake, St. Kevin, Tennessee Pass and Mt. Zion areas. According to the original documents filed back in 2012 by then Leadville Ranger Jon Morrissey, the project encompasses approximately 19,400 acres, of which 11,700 acres are being treated. In other words, things are just getting started.
It was back in mid-August when the Forest Service distributed a press release concerning the “vegetation management” (translation: logging operations) associated with the Tennessee Creek Project, which is located in the San Isabel National Forest. Part of the the project is adjacent to Turquoise Lake with sizable clear-cutting taking place on both sides of County Roads 4 and 9C. Today, logging operations are still very active in the area, and the public is asked to use caution when recreating, avoiding areas where logging equipment is working.
A portion of the logs that are harvested from the area will be sent to mills in Colorado. The other portion of the logs are being stacked on site and available for public firewood collection with much of that activity presently underway. However, it should be noted that firewood permits are required.
The other thing worth noting is that since the project began, there has been no acting Leadville Ranger, as the agency re-shapes its model after the last local officer left earlier this year. Readers can catch up on that news HERE, with an update that no new ranger has been named, as promised, by the end of October 2018.
As for the Tennessee Creek Project, please contact Lisa Corbin, the Timber Program Lead at (719) 539-3591.
The Scope of the Tennessee Creek Project
The map of the Tennessee Creek Project clearly outlines certain parcels of land within the acreage and explains why they are included in the project. The defined prescriptions for the Tennessee Creek Project are listed below for reference.
- Prescription 1B-1 emphasizes providing for downhill skiing on existing downhill ski sites. This is in reference to the current Wayback Pod Project currently in development at Ski Cooper.
- Prescription 2A emphasizes semi-private motorized recreation opportunities, such as a snowmobiling four-wheel driving, and motorcycling.
- Prescription 2B emphasizes rural and roaded-natural opportunities.
- Prescription 4B emphasizes the habitat needs of one or more management indicator species. Prescription 4D emphasizes maintaining and improving aspen sites.
- Prescription 5B emphasizes forage and cover on winter range.
- Prescription 7D emphasizes production and utilization of small round wood.
- Prescription 9A emphasizes riparian area management.