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Smuggler Mountain Restoration Work

Overgrown gamble oak on Smuggler Mountain
ACES' Forest Health Program (formerly For the Forest) is excited about upcoming collaborations with local and federal government agencies to promote healthy, resilient forest.
 
Beginning today ACES, the City of Aspen, and Pitkin County Open Space are working together on three restoration projects in the wildland-urban interface on Smuggler Mountain. Each project seeks to improve wildlife habitat, and reduce fuel loads in different vegetation types: Gambel oak, lodgepole pine, and aspen. These projects will be visible from popular hiking and biking routes on Smuggler.
 
In the absence of periodic, natural disturbances such as fire, vegetation in this area has become old and overgrown, leading to increased fuel accumulation and lower quality forage for wildlife. The restoration projects taking place next week seek to mimic natural disturbance events by mechanically opening up the understory and stimulating new growth.
 
If you're hiking or biking on Smuggler in the next few weeks, keep an eye out for ACES' interpretive signage detailing the ecological benefits of each of these projects. The signs will be located at the site of each project, so you will be able to track progress.
Further questions about ACES' collaboration with the City of Aspen and Pitkin County on these restoration projects can be directed to Jamie Cundiff, ACES' Forest Health Programs Director, at jcundiff@aspennature.org.