Bill Gossard uses a chain saw to cut down a lodgepole pine tree in August 2011 at Steamboat Ski Area alongside the Main Drag ski trail. Logging at the ski area is scheduled to resume Monday, resulting in hiking and mountain bike trail closures.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Bill Gossard uses a chain saw to cut down a lodgepole pine tree in August 2011 at Steamboat Ski Area alongside the Main Drag ski trail. Logging at the ski area is scheduled to resume Monday, resulting in hiking and mountain bike trail closures.

Logging resumes at Steamboat Ski Area

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— Starting Monday, the next round of logging at Steamboat Ski Area will result in hiking and mountain bike trail closures.

The logging is being done in a 40-acre area in an effort to remove beetle-killed lodgepole pine trees.

According to a news release, the U.S. Forest Service authorized the closure of the area in the Burgess Creek drainage between the Why Not and Creekside trails. Those two trails, along with the Thunderhead hiking trail, are expected to remain open until at least Sept. 30.

Starting next week, the Rawhide and Tenderfoot trails will be closed. Other trail closures could occur after the ski area closes for the season Sept. 30. Ski area spokeswoman Loryn Kasten said people should pay attention to posted closure signs.

“It is imperative that the public understands the dangers associated with an operation of this scope and abide by all closures and signs and keep clear of the impacted areas,” Doug Allen, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. vice president of mountain operations, said in the release. “As we continue to grow and expand our on-mountain activities, the mitigation and logging work we do during the fall season becomes an important part of our winter preparations and future summer planning.”

U.S. Forest Service recreation program manager Kent Foster said that the closures will impact popular trails but that the work is necessary to prevent the dead trees from potentially falling on people.

“Please respect the signs and closure and enjoy other areas during this time,” Foster said. “Steamboat’s logging efforts have a history of expedient and smooth progression, and we expect the same safe pace will exist during this project.”

In addition to skidders and trucks, a helicopter will be used for the logging.

“Removal of logs by helicopter makes the process more environmentally friendly by limiting the ground footprint and decreasing the potential for soil erosion and sedimentation to streams,” the release stated.

Kasten said logging operations on the mountain are expected to continue through October.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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