Forest Service seeks public input on fuels reduction, restoration project in Moffat County |

Forest Service seeks public input on fuels reduction, restoration project in Moffat County

The U.S. Forest Service and the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District is seeking public input on the proposed Bear Ears Fuels Reduction and Restoration Project in Moffat and Routt counties.

Forest Service staff will present the project proposal at a town hall at 5 p.m. April 27 at Bud Werner Library in Steamboat Springs, and there will be opportunity for discussion.

The project would improve forest health and provide for human safety by treating a broad range of landscapes on up to 57,000 acres, according to a news release. Proposed project locations would be on the Routt National Forest in the Elkhead Mountain Range.

According to the release, the project’s purpose is to:

  • Reduce wildfire risk to the communities of Wilderness Ranch, Hitch Mountain and Quaker Mountain 
  • Reduce wildfire effects, including sedimentation increases, to the Craig water supply and Elkhead Reservoir
  • Enhance efforts to protect watersheds and address threats to forest and rangeland health, including catastrophic wildfire, across the landscape
  • Protect, restore and enhance forest ecosystem components, including:
    • Promote the recovery of greater Sage Grouse and native fish species
    • Improve biological diversity
    • Enhance productivity and carbon sequestration
  • Utilize a collaborative process of planning, prioritizing, implementing hazardous fuel reduction projects, and wetland/upland restoration projects

The Forest Service said fuels and restoration treatments are planned, as well as prescribed fires of varying scales. Restoration efforts also vary widely and may involve things such as the seeding of uplands, a seasonal area closure for sage grouse, closed road rehabilitation, and other efforts.

The Forest Service said public input would be most helpful if it is received by May 19.
A project decision is anticipated in fall 2023, with implementation beginning in 2024, according to the release.

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