Helicopter Thinning Underway in the Ashland Watershed: Area Closures Will Be Enforced
Weather conditions in early winter delayed helicopter thinning operations, but rotors are turning on the Timberline Helicopterís K-max ship and will continue 7 days a week until the job is done. To minimize the length of closures, crews are doing their best to accomplish fuels reduction and forest restoration goals in a timely manner, even working on weekends. Due to serious public safety threats and to avoid delaying operations further area closures are in place and will be enforced with possible fines for those who are endangering themselves and work crews.
The goal of the 10-year AFR Project is to reduce severe wildfire risk to protect water quality, older forests, wildlife, people, property and quality of life. The project is jointly managed by the U.S. Forest Service Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Lomakatsi Restoration Project, City of Ashland, and The Nature Conservancy. Lomakatsi Restoration is managing the current helicopter operations.The helicopter will be using the Ashland airport as a base for fueling and maintenance.
Roughly 1,200 acres of environmentally-sensitive thinning is planned this winter and spring throughout the Ashland Watershed, the majority of which will be accomplished by helicopter to avoid impacts to sensitive soils. Tree falling in preparation for helicopter operations began in December in the popular Lamb Mine Area.
We sincerely appreciate the understanding and patience of the community while we continue this important work to better protect our water supply and community. During operations, residents can expect to hear noise from the helicopter and log trucks, as well as experience increased traffic on Tolman Creek Road, Granite Street and downtown through this winter and spring.
Information about the AFR project is provided at www.ashlandwatershed.org. Updates on specific trail and road closures are posted at: www.ashland.or.us/trailinfo or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AFR.Project.
Photo of Lamb Saddle thinning. Trees are cut and waiting for helicopter removal.
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