Peabody Placer Hazardous Fuels Reduction
The Peabody Placer Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project is planned in the Peabody Placer area of the Golden Horseshoe, south of the Highlands neighborhood. This is a cross-boundary project on lands owned by Summit County, the Town of Breckenridge, and the US Forest Service- Dillon Ranger District, and is being administered by the Colorado State Forest Service.
Goals and Project Background
The goal of the Peabody fuels reduction project is to reduce wildfire hazards in the Wildland Urban Interface by removing dead and diseased lodgepole pine. This cut will provide connectivity between previously treated areas and remove fuels around wetlands and habitat for snowshoe hare and lynx.
The Golden Horseshoe is a highly valued and utilized area for recreation and wildlife habitat. The forests around the Golden Horseshoe and Breckenridge were heavily impacted by Mountain Pine Beetle. In this area most of the large lodgepole pine were killed and now pose an increased risk of wildfires. Large fires negatively impact wildlife habitat, water quality, infrastructure, and communities. By reducing the volume and connectivity of fuels within the project area, the network of existing fuel breaks around the community is connected and strengthened.
The cutting of live and dead trees mimics the ecological effects of a fire in lodgepole pine, which the forest is adapted to, and will reduce fire intensity so that firefighters will have a greater opportunity to safely engage in fire suppression activities in the event of a wildland fire.
The project is scheduled to start in summer 2022, and may extend into 2023. Forestry operations are limited to Monday-Friday, and will begin after June 30th to minimize impacts to wildlife during spring calving season. Operations will conclude by October 31st, prior to the winter recreation season.
Map showing the general project location and specific areas to be treated.
Two treatment prescriptions will be used on the Peabody HFR project; Clear Cut with Leave Tree (CC w/ LT), and Group Selection (GS). The CC w/ LT prescription will cut and remove standing dead trees of any species, standing live lodgepole pine greater than five inches diameter at breast height (DBH- measured at 4.5’ high), and live lodgepole pine smaller than five inches diameter that are infested with dwarf mistletoe (a native parasitic plant) or with unhealthy canopies.
Except to provide access or for safety, mature aspen, Engelmann spruce, and subalpine fir will not be cut. To minimize impacts to forest regeneration, seedlings and saplings of any species will not be cut in the clear cut with leave tree treatment.
This prescription will be applied to a majority of the project area; 83.4 acres across three units. The units were designated to maximize removal in the highest risk areas with 30% or more standing dead lodgepole pine. Forest that is majority spruce-fir mix, aspen, or live lodgepole has been excluded or minimized. Lasty, wetland areas have been excluded.
The Group Selection prescription will be applied to six units ranging from 0.2-1.1 acres. In these units all trees will be cut, live or dead greater than 0.5" DBH with the exception of advance lodgepole pine, Engelmann spruce, and subalpine fir regeneration (less than five inches DBH with greater than 60% crown). The group selection units will meet fuels reduction objectives and promote Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir regeneration for lynx and snowshoe hare habitat.
Large, mechanized forestry equipment will be used. All merchantable material will be removed and utilized locally for dimensional lumber, supporting local jobs and wood markets. There will be several machine-built slash piles created for non-merchantable material. These piles will be burned by qualified crews when there is significant snow coverage in the winters following project completion.
Impacts to Residents and Recreation
All operations (cutting, loading, hauling, etc.) may take place between 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday from June 30th-October 31st. Loaded log trucks will exit through Gold Run Gulch Road, Gold Run Road, and Tiger Run Road to access Highway 9. Local drivers should use caution, as contractor traffic and log trucks may limit available road space during project work hours. Area residents could hear noise from the work and will see forestry activity in the area. Hauling will not impact winter recreation on Gold Run.
Trails or trail sections may be periodically closed for up to five consecutive days to facilitate safe operations and minimize impacts to users. Alternate routes will be provided and marked when trails are closed. Closures will be in effect when operations near the trails make conditions unsafe for recreation. When logging operations and recreational use can both be safely accommodated, trails will remain open. When recreating near logging operations use increased caution, as equipment may cross the trails at marked crossings. Be sure to obey all posted closure and caution signs.
Mechanized forestry equipment will be operating throughout the project area. Do not approach equipment, as operations and debris can cause serious injury or death. Users may encounter designated equipment crossings, temporary roads, landings, and other operational impacts during the project.
Updates on operational schedule and trail closures will be posted on this page.
This project is part of the Good Neighbor Authority program between the Colorado State Forest Service and United States Forest Service. It is made possible through the Summit County Strong Future Fund, Denver Water Forests to Faucets and Forests to Faucets II grant funding. Project units on US Forest Service Land adhere to the 2011 Breckenridge Forest Health and Fuels Environmental Assessment and design criteria. Summit County and Town of Breckenridge project units were identified as priority treatment areas in the Community Wildfire Protection Plan.
Partners on the project include:
Summit County Open Space and Trails
United States Forest Service - Dillion Ranger District
Colorado State Forest Service
Town of Breckenridge
This project is being managed by the Colorado State Forest Service. Please contact Project Administrator Ashley Garrison with any questions at Ashley.firstname.lastname@example.org.