In fall 2014, ACES is once again partnering with the City of Aspen and Pitkin County on forest management projects in the wildland-urban interface on Smuggler Mountain. These projects, part of the approved 10 year management plan for Smuggler Mountain Open Space, seek to improve wildlife habitat, reduce fuel loads, and increase age/size class diversity across mountain shrub, mixed conifer, and aspen ecotypes. 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 forest management projects taking place this fall seek to mimic natural disturbance events by mechanically removing both live and dead vegetation in order to encourage regeneration.
Keep an eye out for interpretive signage detailing the ecological and fuel reduction benefits 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 these forest management projects may be directed to Jamie Cundiff, ACES' Forest Programs Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.