Due to one hundred years of fire suppression, the forests of the Purgatoire River Watershed have become overgrown and are at risk of sustaining a catastrophic wildfire that would destroy the forests that give the area the scenic and biologic diversity that makes it so unique. Fires have burned in an unnatural way in the past few years and have caused major problems with soil erosion, habitat destruction, and aspen regeneration.
The solution to this problem is relatively simple, but funding it is not. In order to return the forest to their natural condition, they must be thinned to remove the smaller trees and to increase the space between trees. Because the of the low market value of this timber, the cost of harvesting is higher than can be recovered by selling the timber. This cost multiplied over many thousands of acres can be prohibitive, so just paying for it is not an option for a private land owner or public agency.
Our Challenge is two-fold:
- Increase the harvesting efficiency and complete utilization of small diameter timber and,
- Attract new small diameter businesses to the area to improve market opportunities.