Forestry workshop set in celebration of Wildfire Community Preparedness Day


By Laurel Sebastian

Special to The SUN

In celebration of Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, several Pagosa Springs partners are hosting a public forestry workshop to improve local forest health and protect local communities from wildfire.

The workshop will be held May 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Turkey Springs Trailhead, Piedra Road.

Workshop participants will meet leaders at the Turkey Springs Trailhead at 10 a.m. before carpooling to a research area near Middle Mountain.

The workshop will begin with a presentation by Matt Tuten, (forest/silviculturist for the San Juan National Forest) and Emily Hohman (executive director of the Chama Peak Land Alliance) on research conducted in the area, methods for marking trees for removal, and the importance of tree thinning and prescribed burning for forest health.

After a lunch break, participants will get a chance to mark trees that should be cut to improve the health and safety of the forest and surrounding communities.

Interested participants can also learn techniques for assessing the effectiveness of their marking at the end of the day. This is a great opportunity to get an inside look at what foresters do on a day-to-day basis to manage our local public forests.

Please bring a lunch and sturdy shoes. Snacks, forestry equipment and safety equipment will be provided.

As we head into the fire season with extremely dry forest conditions, local land managers, organizations, businesses and community members are looking closely at what we can do to prepare our communities for the possibility of fire. One tool land managers use is thinning trees in dense forests to reduce the possibility of intense and destructive fires.

We invite the public to join us for a presentation, tour and hands-on tree marking with local foresters in one of our gorgeous local forests. Trees marked by volunteers will be removed later to improve forest health.

Participating partners include San Juan Headwaters Forest Health Partnership, San Juan National Forest, Mountain Studies Institute, Chama Peak Land Alliance, and Prescribed Fire Training Exchange.