outdoors, Prescott

MITIGATION OR DECIMATION?

MITIGATION OR DECIMATION?

This afternoon I had the privilege of  casually speaking with two fire fighters in the Prescott National Forest.
They had hand held GPS units and were working fast but gave me a few minutes of their time. I fielded them a few questions about the “hazardous fuel mitigation” work that has been going on for the past months here in the Prescott area.

When I asked them if they were going to do a prescribed burn in the Emmanuel Pines area they responded with, “No, we are going to start brushing this area like the others.”

After an attempt to gather my thoughts without coming across angry with the two young fire fighters, who were just out in the field doing their job, I ask this question. “Why does the forest service seem to have to decimate everything except the pines on so many acres in our amazing public land?”

They directed me to make a call to the Cortez office and talk with  their supervisor.
I did call Ed Paul (777-5665) of the PNF this morning and spoke with him for about 20 minutes.  He was informative as well as willing to listen to my concern and mentioned he would speak to the company the PNF has contracted with about being more careful with the work they are doing.

He did tell me that it would take from two to seven years for the vegetation to grow back to a normal state.

My request is simple.

Dear Prescott National Forest Service:

1. Please do not trash both the legal and social trails that have been recently established or have been around our forests, in many cases, for decades.
2. Please do not destroy the forest in an attempt to save it.
3. Please realize I am not trying to be critical of the PNFS but just attempting to voice my opinion in attempt to not have to look at a stripped forest for a few years.
4. I do understand the principle of hazardous fuel mitigation but think the application of this practice could be managed better.

5. Organize and allow a trails restoration crew to be permitted go back into the forest and restore both sanctioned as well as “social” none sanctioned trails back to a  usable state.  (under the direction of Jason Williams of the PNF or a PMBA type organization).

Much of the Granite Basin area currently reminds me of the barren land that is directly behind Lowes on Hwy 69 or a better description of that area could be  an “Arkansas with no trees”.
If the “mitigation” work doesn’t have a little more TLC (tender loving care) I am really convinced that the  the Emmanuel Pines area will be trashed in a few weeks.
I realize the Forest service has a huge task of managing about 1.25 million acres and I applaud the service and stewardship they provide. That being said,  my request is that they would TONE DOWN the decimation  of all vegetation and destruction of our hiking, biking and equestrian  trail systems by the mitigation process they are currently active in.
I would, as well as, many others in our community be glad to volunteer time as well as effort in helping the forest service maintain our forest system.  I agree that we need a defensible space but we don’t need a decimated space.

If you would like to contact the National Forest office to voice your concerns, call: Ed Paul @ 777-5665

Here is an article from the Prescott Daily Courier with more information if you would like to read it.

http://www.dcourier.com/Main.asp?ArticleID=84796&SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1

The first photo is a picture of one of our trails were I had the conversation with the fire fighters. The rest of the photos are pictures of what it will look like if the PNFS continues the carnage.

Double click the pic to enlarge it.

Save these trails

After effect of Hazardous Fuel Mitigation work @ Granite Basin.

Welcome to Granite Basin ..”It will grow back by June”.

Of what year?

Awesome – invite your friends this summer.

Nice

Really?

“It will grow back by June”.

Nice lawn mower.

Mitigation work.

Seriously?

Hazardous fuel?

If you or I did this we are talkin big time fine.

Local quote of the day. ” Their rippen the lichen right of the rocks” – Ed

“it will grow back by June”

I do not want to be perceived as an enemy of the PNFS.  Actually, I’m a big fan of the PNFS and commend the leadership for their recent positive changes. – Just tryin to help the carnage not reach the Emmanuel Pines area like it has @ Thumb Butte or GB.
The tone of my concern comes from a cooperative yet concerned spirit.

Just trying to preserve what is left – Don’t destroy the forest to try to save it.

In  my own opinion … just sayin

Steve

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7 thoughts on “MITIGATION OR DECIMATION?

  1. Bill Ackermann says:

    Amen. I rode GB on Sunday with Joanie and we were amazed at the open space where forest used to be. Haven’t been to the ‘Butte lately. Now I afraid to think what I will find. It definately seems here should be a less destructive way to protect the forest. In all my years in Prescott I have never seen this type of “clear cutting”. We’ve got open fields where we had vegitation.

    • Thank you for your comment Billy.
      Call Ed Paul to voice your concern @777-2220
      If we can’t convince the PNFS to tone down their practice and policy, the Pines will look as barren as GB and TB in the next few weeks.

  2. Great write up Steve. I have no doubt that the PNF is doing what they feel is right. I wonder if these same tactics are being practiced in other forest area like Flagstaff the White Mtns, or Colorado,etc? Have you sent this article to the Courier yet?

    • Rick,
      This type of “brushing” is being done in the Northwest of the nation.
      I am working with G.O. on the a letter to the PNFS through pmba.
      Thank you for your comment.
      Call Ed Paul to voice your concern @777-2220

  3. Rob Hehlen says:

    Nice work Steve. I guess in a way I’m glad I’ve been too busy to ride anywhere. I think I’d be brought to tears if I came across this. What a traversty.

    • Thank you Rob,
      I do believe the PNFS is needed for mitigation but PLEASE….this is a bit much.
      I would like all of us be devastated if we had a fire out there….That being said, I believe this is kinda over kill and needs to be toned down with not so much carnage.
      Take a break and get out there soon.

  4. Forrest Thompson says:

    I think this definitely qualifies as decimation. I was shocked to return home this spring to discover damage from heavy machinery all throughout Granite Basin, a place very dear to me. Practically every scrub oak and manzanita has been destroyed, but worse, the ground is heavily disturbed and is now crisscrossed with the tread of heavy machinery. It looks absolutely terrible. In short, if the end result was supposed to look natural then the implementation of this “fuel mitigation” effort has been botched!

    I have taken a few forestry classes myself and understand the current state of our forests and the need for these types of management plans. However, I think the use of heavy machinery in previously undisturbed areas does more harm than good. What is to stop non-native invasive species from moving into these now physically disturbed areas (e.g. mullen from the roadside). The forest service makes a big deal about restricting motorized travel on public lands, but then proceeds to pay contractors to drive a bulldozer over /everything/.

    I can support this type of clearing of vegetation by hand, and even controlled burns (and the associated pollution), but relandscaping our national forest with heavy machinery shows a serious lack of respect for the land. I am disgusted.

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