By Ann McCreary
The U.S. Forest Service is seeking comments by April 6 on a preliminary Environmental Assessment for the South Summit II Forest and Fuels Project area east of Twisp.
The 50,000-acre project area lies within the Frazer, Chiliwist, Benson, Texas, French, and Swamp Creek sub-watersheds.
“The proposed activities take into consideration changes caused by the Carlton Complex Fire and will help to address remaining needs to build a healthier landscape that is resilient to insect, disease and wildfire,” said Michael Liu, district ranger.
Proposed activities for the project include tree planting, non-commercial thinning, commercial thinning, regeneration harvest, aspen maintenance harvest, ladder fuel reduction thinning treatments, hand and machine debris piling, underburning and pile burning, construction of hand and machine fire lines, and construction of a horse campground, according to a Forest Service announcement.
Some roads within the project area would be re-opened, closed, or decommissioned. These activities would result in the removal of saw timber and non-saw timber for use in area sawmills, pulp mills, wood pellet manufacturers and electric power generating facilities.
Treatments would also include reforestation in areas burned in the Carlton Complex, and increased camping opportunities for horseback riders.
The project is proposed to thin dense forest stands, reduce fire hazard on national forest lands within the wildland-urban interface, improve forest health and assure regeneration of burned areas, the Forest Service said.
The project will also provide camping opportunities for horseback riders, and modify the existing road system to respond to impacts caused by debris flows and increased runoff. It will provide for long-term resource management, recreation use, and reduced impacts on aquatic and wildlife habitats.
The Environmental Assessment document and information on how to comment can be accessed on the Forest Service website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=46112, or a paper copy can be sent by requesting it from Meg Trebon, phone (509) 996-4032, or sending a letter of request to: Meg Trebon, Methow Valley Ranger District, 24 W. Chewuch Road, Winthrop, WA 98862.
This comment period is intended to provide those interested in or affected by this activity an opportunity to make their concerns known, the Forest Service said.