Last Tuesday morning a group of us met with Casey and Corey from the Prescott National Forest to discuss the hazardous fuels mitigation work that will begin in the Iron Springs/Emmanuel Pines section of the PNF.
The gathering between the PNF and trail users was very positive and the questions were direct and the response was good.
The PNF is mitigating or brushing the forest to attempt to clean out the under brush in order to lessen the chance of another major forest fire in our area. (Thumbs up on that).
Our concern is that in the process of brushing many of our trails used by various interest groups become less than desirable after the brushing is completed.
Local mountain biker Nathan Herring put into words just how important the Iron Springs/Emmanuel Pines area is to all of us.
“Even though the trails in the pines are social trails, they do have a positive impact for the forest eco-system. With these trails being very popular among the locals, the human impact (bikers, equine, etc.) is spread out from the common areas such as Thumb Butte and Granite Mountain, which results in less damage to the overall eco-system.
We understand that the local community is attached to this area and that some have taken the initiative to remove ribbon marking that is placed by the Prescott National Forest. However, this action is causing more damage to the pines and lands. There is a system that is associated with the ribbons that is used by the PNF fire division to mark points. Please leave the ribbons, if you have concerns the appropriate and effective path would be to visit the local PNF visitor center in down town Prescott. ”
The forest leadership agreed that they can “tone down” the process in the following ways.
– Making the contractors that are doing the work aware of the concern by the community.
– Leaving larger patches of the “mosaic” cuts along the trails both social and numbered.
– Making trail users aware of the need to stay clear of the brushing machines for safety reasons.
– Placement of a BLUE INDICATOR RIBBON along trails that the trail users would like to see more “sensitivity” or “less brushing” to allow for a “distinction” between the trail and the brushed areas.
– Make the public aware of the “ribbon placement” importance in the brushing areas.
This point is KEY for trail users during forest brushing seasons.
So here is a bit of info. that can help.
There are three colors of ribbon being used in the PNF to help communicate to the brushing workers as to what to clear and what not to clear.
RED ribbon means do not brush this area.
WHITE ribbon means do not brush this area because of sensitivity or historical interest.
BLUE ribbon means take it easy or tone it down with this section of trail.
Part of the problem the PNF has been having is that they will but up the indicator ribbons in the forest and a week later they are missing or taken down thus making it impossible for the brushing crews to know were to stop brushing.
So, lets get the word out to leave the ribbon that is hanging from the trees.
When the ribbon is taken off the trees it just makes our cause to preserve the area more difficult for everyone involved.
If you notice someone removing the ribbons maybe explain to them the process or if they continue to remove ribbons you can call the PNF dispatch @ 777-5700.
The map below shows just how many acres are involved in the years work. (double click the image with your mouse to enlarge the photo)
Hopefully the conversation with the PNF will help and they can do the necessary work while keeping some of the trails enjoyable for the next few years until the plants begin to sprout back again.
If you have any comments or questions regarding work in the PNF call
Prescott National Forest
Forest Fuels Specialist
Thanks for reading – thanks for caring