Wellington Fuels Reduction and Forest Health Project

Update September 09/02/20: Work is expected to begin mid-September on the Wellington Fuels Reduction and Forest Health Project. 

The purpose of this project is to reduce hazardous fuels, protect communities, and enhance forest health.  By removing burnable vegetation (hazardous fuels) this project will decrease the risk and impacts of wildfire to the Wellington and Lincoln Park communities in the wildland-urban interface, create defensible space, and fuel breaks. It will also foster healthy, long-term forest conditions by promoting the regeneration of lodgepole pine and the expansion of aspen, both of which thrive in open, full-sun conditions. 

This project work is anticipated to start in September 2020, with a completion date of Oct. 29, 2021. 

The project area is a cross-boundary partnership between the White River National Forest (USFS), Summit County (SCOS), and the Town of Breckenridge (ToB) on forest and open space lands on the Wellington side of the Golden Horseshoe Trail System. 

The project will treat a total of 94 acres: 45 SCOS/ToB and 49 USFS. All trees will be hand-cut using chainsaws. Specific work across the properties will include: 

  • Cutting and piling dead trees (2 ac) 
  • Thinning and piling all dead and understory living lodgepole pine, Engelmann spruce, subalpine fir, and aspen trees less than 8.5 inches diameter to a defined spacing (36 ac) 
  • Cutting and piling dead and living conifers growing in mature aspen stands (6 ac) 
  • Cutting and piling dead and living lodgepole pine, Engelmann spruce, subalpine fir, and aspen trees greater than 0.5 inches diameter (45 ac)

 *Advanced regeneration are lodgepole pine, Engelmann spruce, and subalpine fir less than 5 inches diameter and greater than 4.5 ft tall with no diseases and at least 60% crown ratio. Advanced regeneration will not be cut except to reach spacing or piling contract requirements. 

*Tree diameter is measured at 4.5’ above ground level. 

*Crown Ratio is the ratio of live crown (tree branches with green leaves/needles) to total tree height.

Map showing Wellington Forestry Project Treatment Units - Updated 9/3/2020

Tree species in the project area include lodgepole pine and aspen, with a limited number (<1%) of Engelmann spruce, subalpine fir, bristlecone and limber pine. Living limber pine and bristlecone pine are not included in the cutting prescriptions. The mountain pine beetle infestation resulted in many dead lodgepole pine trees within the project site. A forest inventory was conducted in 2019 across the project area and found 40-60% mortality in the lodgepole pine stands.  The inventory also found 75% of the living lodgepole pine are infested with dwarf mistletoe, a native parasitic plant, that causes up to 3% mortality annually and causes stunted growth in regeneration.

Photo of forested area before wildfire mitigation is performed

Project work may cause recreation trails to close for up to 30 minutes at a time. Area residents could hear noise from the work and see forestry activity in the area. Work hours are limited from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday-Saturday. 

This project is part of the Good Neighbor Authority program between the Colorado State Forest Service and United States Forest Service. It is made possible through the Summit County Strong Future Fund.

Partners on the project include: 

  • Summit County Open Space and Trails (SCOS)
  • United States Forest Service (USFS) - Dillion Ranger District
  • Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS)
  • Town of Breckenridge (ToB)

This project is being managed by the Colorado State Forest Service. Contact Project Administrator Ashley Garrison with any questions. Ashley.garrison@colostate.edu

Project status updates will be posted here as the project is closer to starting and throughout the operational period.