Crews to begin thinning small trees near Eagle to improve big-game habitat | VailDaily.com

Crews to begin thinning small trees near Eagle to improve big-game habitat

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SILT — Crews will begin thinning small pinyon and juniper trees Monday, June 11, on the Bureau of Land Management lands east of Eagle.

Over the next several weeks, crews will use chain saws and handsaws to cut small pinyon and juniper trees encroaching into open sagebrush meadows on 462 acres in the East Eagle area. The thinning will maintain previous work completed to improve big-game winter range, as well as habitat for the Harrington's penstemon, a sensitive plant.

"The BLM thinned pinyon and juniper trees in this area several decades ago to improve habitat, and now young trees are starting to grow in these open areas," said Acting BLM Colorado River Valley Field Manager Gloria Tibbetts. "It is much easier to maintain the sagebrush habitat and open views by re-thinning the area now, while the trees are still small."

The Mule Deer Foundation is funding the work because of its importance to maintaining big-game habitat.

"People recreating in the East Eagle area will definitely notice this work," Tibbetts said. "We are simply maintaining the existing open areas and won't be cutting the mature forests."