Tree-cutting planned for East Vail, West Vail | VailDaily.com

Tree-cutting planned for East Vail, West Vail

Daily staff report
newsroom@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado ” With help from a newly hired five-person wildfire crew, the town of Vail will be working in three areas this season as part of an ongoing forest health plan that aims to create a “defensible space” between the White River National Forest and Vail’s boundaries.

The work includes cutting, piling and burning of dead and diseased lodgepole pines in targeted areas as well as the treatment of aspen stands to bring new growth to the forest. In addition, crews will continue inspections of private properties this season to facilitate the removal of dead trees as required by the town.

The 2009 activities will begin May 25 when Vail’s wildfire crew, headed by wildland coordinator Tom Talbot, will begin work following two weeks of training. The projects will take place on 17 acres of public and private land in and around Vail that are most at risk for fire, a result of the mountain pine beetle infestation. The projects were chosen due to their high risk to buildings, power lines and roadways. They include:

– East Vail, 10 acres, May-July. Located on town-owned land between the Snowshoe Lane water tank, Main Gore South Drive and the interstate, the work will include cutting and piling of about 100 lodgepole pines. Pile burns will take place during the fall of 2010, weather permitting. Firewood will be available beginning Aug. 1 at Main

Gore and Snowshoe Lane.

– Matterhorn, 2 acres, May-June Located above Westhaven Circle on town-owned land, the work will include selective cutting of approximately 25 pines. Firewood may be available. Call 970-477-3509 for info on firewood.

– East Vail, Black Gore Creek Circle, 5 acres, May-October. Located between Gore Creek, Black Gore Creek and the interstate to the east, the work will include cutting 10 to 12 trees on town-owned land. Most of the wood will be collected by the Public Works Department for park bench construction. The slash will be piled for burning in 2010.

In addition, crews will be canvassing area streams and drainages, including Red Sandstone Creek, Bighorn Creek, Black Gore Creek, Gore Creek, Mill Creek and Pitkin Creek and will be removing hazardous trees to protect the town’s culverts during spring run-off. Also, the crew will be assisting Holy Cross Energy in identifying electric transmission lines that are at risk on private and public lands and will conduct selective tree removal in partnership with the utility. Pile burns also will be taking place in the Intermountain area as conditions permit.

The town has committed up to $265,000 for the forest health projects this year. Since 2005, the town has spent more than $682,387 on its projects and has gotten help from the U.S. Forest Service, Eagle County, Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority and Eagle River Water and Sanitation District. To date, that work has resulted in the removal of an estimated 10,000 trees in and around Vail, plus many more on private land.

As the town returns to enforcement of its dead tree ordinance this season, a free curbside chipping service will again be offered as an incentive for property owners. The service will be available from June 1 to Oct. 25 for trunks, limbs and slash up to 24 inches in diameter. The free chipping service coincides with phase two of a townwide inspection process that will take place during the season by members of the wildfire crew in the following neighborhoods:

– East Vail. Gore Creek Circle to East Vail Interchange, May-July.

– Vail Village. Golf Course to Lionshead, July- August.

– Sandstone. Mill Creek to Buffehr Creek, July -August.

– West Vail. Cascade to Intermountain, August-October.

– Intermountain. Streamside to end of Bellflower, August-October.

Following the inspections, affected property owners will be notified of a town regulation that requires removal of dead or diseased trees within 30 days. If the trees cannot be removed within 30 days, a town-approved “mitigation plan” is required. Failure to comply with the regulations could result in a summons to municipal court.-

Last fall, crew members canvassed 419 properties in the Intermountain and East Vail neighborhoods and identified 55 properties containing hazardous trees. Additional follow up is currently under way to complete the town’s enforcement action, including the availability of free FireWise property assessments. To schedule an appointment, call 970-477-3509.

To provide additional assistance in helping property owners with their tree removal responsibilities, the town has streamlined its permit process. Tree removal permits are available on line at http://www.vailgov.com/foresthealth and will be processed within five working days. The town also maintains an online list of tree service companies that are registered to do business in Vail.-

To view a map of the project areas, visit http://www.vailgov.com/foresthealth or call Talbot at 970-477-3509.