Judith A. Harrington: Sanctuary logging
June 27, 2010
Let's get the record straight. The Sanctuary residents were never given an official ballot to vote on logging the ridge behind Aspen Wood Drive and Steamboat Boulevard. Our management company requested our feedback for the Sanctuary board of directors to respond to the city of Steamboat Springs regarding the grant for logging the entire ridgeline behind our homes.
The city already had hired Rogue Resources to log various ridges and trail areas designated to be a wildfire risk by Ron Lindroth, of Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue. In a letter forwarded to the residents, we were informed that we either accept the grant and the logging procedures outlined by Rogue or not accept the grant with subsequent fines to individual homeowners for trees on their property deemed to be a hazard.
From a homeowners standpoint, we were concerned about the logging methods used and the cuts in the mountain to haul logs out and the clearing for a staging area for logging trucks. We were told that all dead trees were to be cut at a certain height and hauled out of the forest. The city did not fully address a more serious concern that we homeowners had in regard to the increased risk for avalanches.
If we had 500-plus inches of snow, like we did several years ago, what would the risk be for avalanches? What about the giant boulders sitting on the mountain? We homeowners received an opinion on avalanche risk, and it was a negative for logging the mountain.
I and approximately six other neighbors have spent over $10,000 each in clearing the dead trees from our backyards. Those trees were cut, chained and pulled up to the trail and hauled out via the Sanctuary trail with minimal damage to existing forage and wildlife refuge areas. With the spring rains this year, the new growth is just staggering.
Given the opportunity to see what the Burgess Creek area and Spring Creek trail look like and the increased risk for avalanche, many of the homeowners were vehemently against Rogue Resources logging the entire ridge behind our houses. The city, Rogue Resources, our management company and our Sanctuary board never addressed alternative methods for using the grant money to remove dead trees close to our houses.
We homeowners would welcome an opportunity to use grant money to help residents clear their backyards of dead trees without damage to existing growth and wildlife refuge. At the same time, the grant money can also be used to clear dead trees 200 feet on the other side of the trail. There are other companies with alternative methods to cutting and hauling beetle-killed trees.
Judith A. Harrington