Colorado's Rio Grande National Forest seeks comments on Black Mesa Vegetation Management Project, proposes harvest of up to 60 mmbf of dead and dying trees on 9,400 acres

CREEDE , April 26, 2012 (press release) – The Rio Grande National Forest is seeking public input on the draft environmental analysis of the Black Mesa Vegetation Management Project. The proposed project is to harvest spruce beetle killed trees on the Divide Ranger District approximately 15 miles west of Creede.

“Over 200,000 acres of spruce-fir forest on the Divide Ranger District have been infested by spruce beetle," said District Ranger Tom Malecek. "This proposed project is designed to put people to work salvaging some of these dead trees for commercial use while also jumpstarting the growth of the next forest."

The preferred alternative proposes to harvest up to 60 million board feet of dead and dying trees on approximately 9,400 acres. Timber harvesting would be split into smaller independent sales.

Seedlings would be planted following harvest operations in areas where there is little regeneration. Additionally, hazard trees would be removed from areas next to human developments such as roads, cabins and utility lines; and treatments to reduce woody materials that could fuel a fire would be conducted near private land.

The proposed project would primarily use existing roads, but would also require construction of up to 3.6 miles of new temporary road segments. The temporary roads would be closed and rehabilitated following the project.

The Black Mesa Vegetation Management Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is available for review at

For more information or to request a paper copy or CD of the DEIS, contact Diana McGinn at 719-852-6241.

The comment period ends 45 days after notice is published in the Federal Register. Publication of the notice is estimated to be on April 27, 2012. Comments will be used to prepare the final environmental impact statement and decision.

Comments may be made using the online form located on the Black Mesa project webpage; sent by e-mail to; or sent by facsimile to 719-852-6250. Please include “Black Mesa Vegetation Management Project” on the subject line. Comment letters should be mailed to San Luis Valley Public Lands Center, ATTN: Diana McGinn, 1803 W. Highway 160, Monte Vista, CO 81144.

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