Pitkin County Open Space and Trails and the City of Aspen, working with the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, this fall completed another round of forestry projects identified in the Smuggler Mountain Forestry Plan. See the map below for the location of 2013 project sites.
The work was part of a 10-year management plan; tree-cutting activity is taking place in mountain shrub areas dominated by oak and serviceberry, as well as in aspen and mixed conifer stands.
The Smuggler forestry plan calls for management of aspen, mixed conifer and mountain shrublands with the goal of clearing dead, overcrowded and overgrown vegetation that increases the risk of fire to homes bordering the mountain and does little to support wildlife.
Much of the forest on the Smuggler Mountain Open Space, owned jointly by the city and county, boasts crowded and overgrown vegetation because natural disturbances, most notably fire, have not occurred for more than a century. The result is a less resilient forest, increased fire hazard and a loss of quality habitat for wildlife. Watch for additional work in 2014.