Town of Breckenridge forest health efforts are intended to address the ongoing mountain pine beetle infestation, provide wildfire protection, and jumpstart a regenerated forest with diverse tree species. For the past several years, active forest health treatments have occurred both in Town and on jointly-owned Town/County parcels in the Golden Horseshoe. In 2013, forest health issues were addressed on several smaller parcels, such as Moonstone and the MBJ/Wedge parcels. Tree planting and grass seeding efforts are also underway to help the cleared areas recover with minimal soil loss and increased tree species regeneration. In addition, tree removal is likely to continue on joint Town/County properties in the Golden Horseshoe.
In 2008, the Town open space and trails division commissioned Rocky Mountain Ecological Services, Inc. (RMES) to analyze the mountain pine beetle hazard on open space properties. The RMES report evaluated all existing open space parcels for susceptibility to mountain pine beetle infestation and prioritized forest health actions to be taken system-wide. Based on the findings in the report, staff has implemented annual tree removal projects on Town open space and on joint Town/County properties since 2009. Over thirty nine forest health projects were undertaken, addressing many open space parcels with varying levels of forest health or fire mitigation treatments. Costs for the Town’s open space forest heath projects were funded through the Town’s dedicated open space fund. Since 2009, the Town open space fund has managed tree removal efforts projects costing $600,621 on Town-only and joint Town/Summit County open space parcels. These expenses were matched by the Summit County Open Space and Trails Department contribution on joint properties of $125,865 and were leveraged via $348,259 in grant funding from the State of Colorado and the Summit County Wildfire Council. Due to grants and partnership funding, actual Town costs of the forest treatments was $300,627. In 2014, the Town, Summit County Open Space, Summit County Wildfire Council, and the State of Colorado DNR have committed an additional $35,000 apiece to complete the 75-acre tree removal project. The primary goals of these forest health initiatives are:
1. To remove dead and infested trees that succumbed to mountain pine beetle, thereby reducing fuel loads, fire hazards, and potential wind-throw hazards.
2. To establish fire breaks and defensible spaces to protect area homes and valuable infrastructure.
3. To complete cuts to encourage forest regeneration and create a more dynamic forest (i.e. more diverse age class, species composition, forest structure).
For more information, please contact Chris Kulick at firstname.lastname@example.org.