The debate blazes on.
(Please excuse that terrible pun. It was the best I could think of at the time.)
As the summers unfortunately bring more dry weather and less rainfall (not to mention our alarmingly low amount of snow this winter on the ranch) we are faced with a dilemma.
A few Fridays ago, Mike Mac, Carlotta and I hiked around a cleared out space about a half mile or so from our front gates where there’s this egregious pile of mulch from all the trees that are being, well, retired, I guess.
That little person standing there, yup, that’s Mike Mac. And that’s what I like to call the Iron Giant–a wood chipper the size of a space rocket.
This is how it works (sorry for the slow start, but a tiny pile of mulch might equal to a dozen or so trees, so just think of how many trees that ginormous pile really is).
So just on the left side of the switchback before our big ol’ beautiful aspen grove, just before the main world-flagged gates of Sanborn, campers and parents alike will notice a bit of a change on the upper ridges that were once dense with pines and spruce. This area belongs to the National Forest Department, and unfortunately this isn’t something we can fight. But the question remains, is it something that we should fight? This type of mitigation is indeed necessary to provide a healthier forest in the future, and prevent our property from, well, to put it lightly, be the innocent bystander in the unfortunate event of a forest fire.
In fact, we had to mitigate a number of trees on our property in the past because it was, well, just too darn dense. And as far as those orange tags you may notice as you look right just before the front gates, that’s another project for the Colorado State Forests who will be doing a bit more trimming in the not too distant future.
For more resources on fire mitigation, what it entails, why they do it, and what they use, check out a few teaching links on the infamous Hayman Fire and tell us what you think.
Why is this beneficial? Do the negative, short-term aesthetic effects trump the long-term benefits of having a healthy, fire-resistant forest?