Balancing Competing Needs for the AFR Project
The Ashland Forest Resiliency partners, as members of this community, hear when concerns are brought forward. We appreciate the importance of community insight in open discussion around the natural places we all know and love. We’re always open to conversation. AFR partners can be reached directly via our Facebook, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Siskiyou Mountain Park is a treasured Ashland community natural area, once private timberland, and previously heavily logged, but now being restored by the City of Ashland Parks Department with help from AFR for multiple values including public use.
For updates on controlled burn locations or trail and road closure information, go to our Trail Information page or homepage. Controlled burn season will begin soon in Ashland and the surrounding watershed. Visit SmokewiseAshland to learn more about how to prepare for smoke from controlled burns and summer wildfire smoke.
After the thinning of small trees and brush as part of the AFR projects to reduce fire danger and improve forest health, work crews went through and piled limbs and debris left on the forest floor. Once the dry season is over and wet conditions resume, forestry crews will burn existing brush piles under controlled conditions.
The goal of controlled burns is to consume fuels during cold and wet conditions that might burn out of control in a summer wildfire, threatening the community and our water supply. Fire will be used safely and effectively to accomplish the removal of these and other brush piles and increase safety of the City and its water supply. Though smoke will be visible from town, responsible smoke management is a top priority. Notifications about controlled burns can be received by doing the following actions:
- text WATERSHED to 888777
- subscribe to AFR Email
- view City’s website www.ashland.or.us
- visit the AFR Project website homepage
- call City’s Smoke and Wildfire Hotline (541-552-2490)
Alerts can also be received by “liking” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AFR.Project.
As the most environmentally sensitive way to thin our watershed forests, helicopter thinning of trees has virtually no impact on the forest and is mainly utilized in areas of steep slopes to minimize erosion. Timberline Helicopters began work in December 2015 and will continue through spring of 2017.
Columbia Helicopters finished the first phase of helicopter thinning was completed during the fall and winter of 2012-2013. Columbia Helicopters successfully thinned 355 acres on the west side of the watershed in the Skyline Mine Ridge/Forest Service 400 Road area. An additional 255 acres were thinned during this phase totaling 610 acres where selected trees were removed to improve forest health and reduce the risk of a damaging wildfire in the Ashland watershed.
Watch a clip of the helicopter operations at work on our Videos and Images page.
The Lomakatsi Restoration Project managers oversee daily operations of the project, working closely with contractors to achieve the project’s objectives of reducing wildfire hazard and restoring forest health, amongst others. In an effort to protect effective ground cover and minimize treatment impacts to the soil, crews operated machinery on previously cut limbs and tops wherever possible. Tree removal routes were concentrated to existing roads and skid trails, preventing the construction of new roads and leaving the majority of the forest soils free from disturbance.
To learn more about the equipment used, measures taken to minimize impacts to the forest, and how this work will improve forest health overall, read the Summer 2012 Commercial Thinning Update.
Road and Trail Rehabilitation
Rehabilitation of roads and trails after tree thinning was a high priority for the AFR Project. Workers completed road maintenance and cleanup of landing sites. Additional parking was installed at the Eastview trailhead, and interpretive information will be installed soon. Working with local recreation groups, the AFR partnership also took this opportunity to enhance the trail-use experience in the White Rabbit area. Lomakatsi coordinated subcontractors and tribal crews to perform post-thinning trail cleanup and installation of two separate trail systems, re-routed from the original White Rabbit trail that went right through the landing site; one for pedestrians and equestrians, and another for bikers. Both trails now skirt around the helicopter landing site, providing a safer recreation experience for all trail users and directing traffic away from the actual landing site to enable re-growth of native grasses and trees.