St. Vrain Fuel Reduction Project, Boulder County, Colorado
Taylor Mountain Area (Unit 6)

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These website pages were developed in order to provide photographic documentation of old-growth ponderosa pines cut during the St. Vrain Fuel Reduction Project. This project was carried out by the Boulder Ranger District of the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests through a contract with a private logging company. The Taylor Mountain unit begins at the end of Taylor Road approximately two miles east of Allenspark.

On the ground observation of the results of this project on Unit 6 (Taylor Mountain) indicate quite clearly that a large percentage of the largest ponderosa pines are being targeted for removal. This logging is destroying old-growth ponderosa pine forest and degrading mature stands that were next in line to develop into old growth.

Most of the trees photographed had diameters from 18 to over 30 inches. We photographed both the stumps and the cut trees where we had the opportunity before the trees were removed. The Forest Plan for the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests states that a principal criteria for recognizing old-growth ponderosa pine forest is the presence of trees over 18" dbh. Because of the straight nature of these tall trees, there is only a negligible difference between our measurements at cutting level and dbh (diameter at breast height).

As plant ecologists we find these destructive forest practices to be contrary to the standards and guidelines in the Environmental Assessment for this fuel reduction project, as well as contrary to Forest Plan standards and the current policies of the USDA Forest Service. Although we support the goals of fuel reduction, we think that it is particularly important to have this destructive logging altered as soon as possible, because this project is only the first year of a well-funded ten-year program. The results we are discovering and bringing to public and Forest Service attention will hopefully alert the Forest Service to investigate and amend its practices. Because the Taylor Mountain project is ongoing, our documentation and presentation on this website is only in its initial phases. And yet, the results we have found so far are clearly an egregious insult to proper forest management standards.

Our letter to the Forest Service can be seen HERE.
Another letter to the Forest Service from Rocky Smith of Colorado Wild can be seen HERE

Dianne Andrews and Tom Andrews, December 2010

Although this phase of the project was completed years ago, we feel that it is still prudent to maintain these web pages as
a potential reminder that land management agencies staffed with usually remarkably competent people can go astray.
19" diameter
targeting old ponderosa pines for cutting
30" diameter
21" diameter
28" diameter
27" diameter
18" diameter
18" diameter
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