Winter logging in the South Summit area means that some snowmobile and cross country ski routes are off-limits on U.S. Forest Service land.
Forest Service Road #4150 at the end of Benson Creek is temporarily closed to snowmobiles due to trucks bringing out logs that are being harvested as part of the South Summit II Forest and Fuels Project.
Some lower-elevation trails that are part of the South Summit cross country ski trail system are also closed due to log hauling in the area, said Paul Nash, timber manager for the Methow Valley Ranger District.
Some of the commercial thinning that is part of the South Summit II project is required to be conducted during winter to reduce disturbance to soil and vegetation, Nash said. This is the third winter of operations for the timber sale. “We are hoping that this is the last winter, but they still have one more winter after this to complete their required winter logging,” Nash said.
Boise Wood Products is the timber sale purchaser. The company has several contractors performing the logging, Nash said. This winter, White Logging of Twisp has been operating since December in the Polepick Road area (Forest Service Road #4100-600). A second logging company is expected to start next week in the Benson Creek area, he said.
The volume of timber sold was 61,709 tons, which is about 9.5 million board feet or approximately 2,400 log truck loads, Nash said. Altogether, there are 1,759 acres, out of the 2,165-acre sale, where winter logging is required. The only area not identified for winter logging is the core of the South Summit winter recreation area, he said.
The project also includes prescribed burning, transportation system changes and construction of a horse campground adjacent to the North Summit Sno-Park. A road to serve the campground has been built, and more work on the horse campground will be done later this year.