White Cloud Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project
Crews will be working on Forest Service land near the base of Peak 9 in Breckenridge through early Winter 2022
The Colorado State Forest Service, in partnership with the US Forest Service (USFS) and Summit County, is continuing fuels reduction projects east of the Ski Resort in the White Cloud/Warrior’s Mark area of south Breckenridge. Work started August 2021 and will be finished early winter 2022. This project adheres to the 2011 Breckenridge Forest Health and Fuels Environmental Assessment and design criteria.
The goal of the White Cloud fuels reduction project is to connect, strengthen, and build upon the series of existing fuel breaks around the Breckenridge and Blue River area. The project will reduce the volume and connectivity of fuels within the project area and reduce wildfire hazards to the adjacent neighborhood and greater Breckenridge and Blue River communities. The cutting of live and dead trees mimics the ecological effects of a fire, which the forest is adapted to, and will reduce fire intensity to where firefighters will have a greater opportunity to safely engage in fire suppression activities in the event of a wildland fire.
The fuels mitigation project is on 134 acres of National Forest land and consists of two prescriptions that are specific for an older mountain pine beetle impacted forest. Clearcut with Leave Tree (CC w/ LT) is the most widely used prescription on 130 acres. Generally, all dead trees and live lodgepole pine above 5 inches diameter at breast height (DBH) will be cut. Live lodgepole pine trees less than 5 inches DBH that are not diseased or unhealthy and have at least a 60 percent live crown ratio will be retained. To provide wildlife habitat and break up the clearcut, a mosaic of half-acre or larger leave patches may be left in the CC w/ LT treatment area. These leave patches will be irregular in shape and size and most likely be in areas of smaller sized lodgepole. The second prescription, called Feathered Edge, will be implemented on 4 acres adjacent to the houses of upper White Cloud Drive. More trees will be retained in this Feathered Edge treatment area. Carter Gulch and surrounding wetlands will not be entered. Other isolated live trees may need to be cut to facilitate operations.
Large, mechanized forestry equipment will be utilized. All merchantable material will be removed and utilized locally, supporting local jobs and markets. There will be approximately 10-20 large, machine-built piles created for non-merchantable material. These piles will be burned by USFS crews when there is significant snow coverage in the winters following project completion.
All operations (cutting, loading, hauling, etc.) may take place between 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Loaded log trucks exit through upper White Cloud Drive, Gold King Way, Spruce Creek Rd. to Crown Dr. to access Highway 9. Unloaded log trucks enter in through Broken Lance Drive and White Cloud Drive. Local drivers should use caution, as contractor traffic and log trucks may limit available road space during project work hours. The Burro Trail briefly crosses through the project area, as well as a complex network of other local social trails. The Burro Trail will remain open, but temporary closures will take place when cutting operations are occurring nearby. Non-official social trails will not have safety flaggers controlling the trails. In the attached map, the golden cross-hatched “Safe Ski Access” area will remain a safe ski in, ski out access route. Mechanized forestry equipment will be operating to the south. Do not approach operating equipment, as operations and debris can cause serious injury or death.