Flagstaff tree thinning: threat level still high

I'm still worrying about a woodsy walk and its future survival

| May 20, 2011

MUST YOU? Is it really necessary to degrade this lovely patch of woods by thinning one side of it? Maybe your e-mail can save it. (Reporter photo)
I wrote recently on these virtual pages expressing concern about the industrious tree-thinning going on around Boulder County, and sharing a letter I’d written to Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks folks about a particular woodsy part of the Range View Trail atop Flagstaff that I’ve grown to love.

I’ll reproduce that letter again (hey, gotta make it easy for The Blue Line to pick up this story, right?). It read:

I have been watching various very aggressive thinning project going on: Enchanted Mesa (City), Bald Mountain (County), Ceran St. Vrain above Jamestown (Forest Service), etc. I know that you have your reasons. But I am writing to ask that you spare the Range View Trail at Flagstaff … It is such a beautiful stand of trees near where Range View meets up with Ute Trail near the top — I value it so. I am hoping you folks will leave it just as it is. Thank you.

The very next day, I got the nicest e-mail back from OSMP, and I quote:

Hi Bob,
Thanks for your interest in forest management and your passion for the OSMP system. The area you described in your email is not slated to be thinned as part of the work being done on Flagstaff. That north facing slope is cooler and wetter than the surrounding area and would have historically and naturally had a high density of trees similar to the conditions that are there now. I went out to the site this afternoon and flagged the area so the field crew is clear on where to stop. Thanks

Chris Wanner
Forest Ecologist
City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks
[email protected]

Now how nice is that? Hooray for responsive and conscientious officialdom! I was up there today and saw that the thinning work had indeed stopped (so far) at the edge of the woodsy area in question.


Gotta add, though, that a sign I found up there still promises (threatens) to thin the southern side of the upper Range View trail, which would mean hacking away away at exactly one-half of the woodsy area I was hoping would be protected. See my photo below of the posted map — I’ve added the letters A and B to identify the northern side of the trail (not slated for thinning) and the southern side (sadly, marked as chainsaw-ready).

CUT VERSUS SPARE: Map posted on Flagstaff (enhanced by me) shows areas on Range View Trail slated for cutting versus sparing. (Reporter photo)

Couldn’t you just spare this nice stand of trees so that we feel like we’re passing through a few moments of forest, enchanting year-round, a shelter from summer’s sweltering sun and a place where the pines wear winter garments of snow? Pleeeze?

To perhaps help inspire you to write to Open Space yourself, check out the pages of photos of the destruction the Forest Service is visiting upon the Ceran St. Vrain trail above Jamestown (through a contract with a private logging company). Beautiful creekside trail turned into devastated, depressing wasteland. Your federal tax dollars at work.

Now write that e-mail to OSMP please. Or join the cause by commenting below.

SCENE-SETTER: Map from earlier story.