Elk NetworkForest Thinning to Benefit Wyoming Wildlife Habitat

Conservation | July 31, 2020

Below is a news release from the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

The Bridger-Teton National Forest, Pinedale Ranger District is continuing progress with the Skyline Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project this summer.  The project is a 2,247-acre project, designed to reduce and remove hazardous fuel loading along Skyline Drive including the Sylvan Bay Summer Homes, Fremont Lake Campground, Elkhart Park, Kelly Park, and White Pine Resort.  Contract and Forest Service crews are thinning trees and piling the debris to be burned at a later date.  Firewood and timber products are one of the outcomes of this project.  The project objective is reducing the risk of a high intensity wildfire in these high use areas while increasing the safety of the public and firefighters in the event of a wildfire occurrence.   The project also enhances wildlife habitat, recreation, timber product (timber sales), forest health, and site visibility along roadways.

Currently two timber sales are occurring near the White Pine Ski area along Skyline Drive. These areas are posted with signs, motorist and recreationalist are asked to stay out of these areas and allow crews to work safely.

The tree thinning piles along roadways can be found along Skyline Drive from Kelly Park to Elkhart Park. Larger firewood diameter material was left un-piled within 40-feet of the roadway to allow the public the opportunity to gather firewood.  Firewood permits are $7.00 per cord and may be obtained by calling the Pinedale Ranger District at 307-367-4326. Other areas of firewood are currently being felled and mechanically piled in several different areas.  These areas are otherwise inaccessible to the public due to no legal routes for vehicles and/or steep or rocky terrain. Forest Service crews are working in the area presently and will have several cords of firewood made available to the public when the crews are finished. Social media will be utilized to broadcast the location and times of firewood area availability.  These areas will be gated and will have Forest Service personnel at the entrances to offer guidance and maps along with checking wood permit tags. Please stay tuned to the Bridger-Teton National Forest Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/BridgerTetonNF) and Twitter (@BridgerTetonNF) pages. Some firewood areas will be made available by mid-August, as other locations are completed more areas will be made available through the fall months.

This project has been supported and funded by multiple partnerships with the USFS including Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Wyoming Wildlife Natural Resource Trust, Mule Deer Initiative, Wyoming Game and Fish Commission and the Forest Service and NRCS Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership supported through the Sublette County Forest Collaborative.

(Photo source: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)V