Miller Steep Slope Work Passes Muster

Profiled a year ago in Timber Harvesting, the Monarch Pass thinning and forest health project near a major Colorado ski area is making good progress and is part of a much larger forest health effort. Counting 2020 and 2021, it’s taken two summers to thin about 466 acres of forest on Monarch Pass. The work is being conducted by Oregon-based Miller Timber Services, the TH 2019 Logging Business of the Year.

According to forester Andrew Lerch with the Arkansas River Watershed Collaborative, Miller Timber’s crews have harvested an estimated 9,000 tons of timber, or 2.3 million board feet of beetle-killed spruce, off the pass in the past two years. The work is looking good: Researchers with the Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station have been studying erosion below the logging operation on Monarch Pass and haven’t found any widespread or alarming issues. The project is part of a much larger regional effort that involves dozens of communities, local, regional and federal agencies and stakeholder groups to reduce fire risk and boost wildfire protection, which by 2030 could see $40 million spent to treat more than 30,000 acres.

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