2,000 trees to be cut from Vail slopes | VailDaily.com

2,000 trees to be cut from Vail slopes

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado – Approximately 2,000 beetle-killed trees may be cut down on 26 acres of Vail Mountain later this summer.

The project would remove dead or dying trees along the Vista Bahn and Avanti chairlifts, said U.S. Forest Service Snow Ranger Don Dressler.

The trees need to be cut to prevent injuries should the trees fall and also to prevent the busiest areas of the ski mountain from being marked by dead trees.

The project is only one small part of the ongoing work needed to deal with the dead and dying trees. Last summer, Vail Resorts removed about 4,000 dead trees along the gondola line.

“This is a long-term process,” Dressler said. “Our first priorities are around chairlifts, snowmaking equipment, and restaurants. We’re just taking it one piece at a time.”

The sale of wood from the felled trees will also help offset the costs of the project. Forest Service studies have found that the cutting will not cause mudslides, hurt wetlands, nor will it have significant impacts on the area’s threatened or endangered species, such as Canada Lynx, the Uncompahgre fritillary butterfly, the greenback cutthroat trout, bonytail, Colorado pikeminnow, humpaback chub and razorback sucker, boreal toad or northern leopard frogs.

The tree removal project has been approved by the Forest Service, and those who commented on the project previously have 45 days to appeal the decision. Appeals can be sent by mail, fax, e-mail or by hand to Appeal Deciding Officer, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region, 740 Simms, Golden, CO 80401 or faxed to (303) 275-5156.

A simultaneous appeal must be sent to Acting Forest Supervisor Mary Morgan, 900 Grand Avenue, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601 or faxed to (970) 945-3266.

Send appeals by e-mail to appeals-rocky-mountain-regional-office@fs.fed.us.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.

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