Logging by train

State forest service partners with railroad for fuel thinning project near Rockwood CO

“…The plot south of Rockwood is classified as a “high-value high-priority area,” because of its susceptibility to fire and the surrounding structures and watershed. Logging started in November and hauling should wrap up within the month.

The 46-acre project is all on private property, funded through a federal grant secured by the state forest service; Miller Timber is the contractor that submitted the winning bid…”

Read the full story here


Philmont Scout Ranch Press Release Restorative Thinning Project



In a unique collaboration of public, private, and state agencies Philmont Scout Ranch has embarked on a $1.3 Million restorative thinning project for sustainable forest management.


Philmont Scout Ranch, Cimarron, NM – May 31, 2023, marks the five-year anniversary of the start of the devastating Ute Park Fire. The fire consumed over 36,000 acres of mountain forests, including over 26,000 acres on the world famous Philmont Scout Ranch. Philmont announced today that they have initiated the first phase of an aggressive Forest Restoration project utilizing state-of-the-art mechanical thinning. This thinning process allows for a one-pass treatment of overgrown forests with a focus on the restoration, protection, and sustainability of the landscape and watersheds for future generations.

This current project is Philmont’s latest action in efforts to mitigate the devastation of wildfires and overgrown forests. Immediately following the Ute Park Fire, Philmont developed short term and long-range plans to address mitigation. These successful efforts have included extensive handwork to create a thousand-acre shaded fuel break. This facilitates safe ingress and egress and serves as a fire break to help protect watersheds. 

Other immediate responses to mitigate post-wildfire damage from the Ute Park Fire included the construction of sediment catchment basins, contour felling of burned trees to slow erosion and runoff, and reseeding of key areas in watersheds. Philmont also embarked on an on-going project to create defensible spaces in key areas to help prevent the advancement of wildfires in the future.

This work is critical to the welfare of surrounding communities and the Philmont operation itself, a major economic driver for Northern New Mexico. The scope of the work performed has been monumental including over 300,000 hours of labor by staff, volunteers and participants working together and demonstrating the Boy Scouts of America’s commitment to land stewardship and conservation. 

The Philmont Conservation Department states that with an additional 62,000 acres of treatment, the ranch could be returned to fire neutral status, reducing the chances of scorched earth that is the result of devastating crown fires and fuel overload. To achieve this goal, the ranch has turned the corner relative to speed, “the shift of going from days per acre to acres per day, makes the goal realistic,” said Dave Kenneke, Philmont’s Director of Ranching and Conservation. 


The first phase, a 600-acre Restorative Thinning Project began in mid-April and will be completed by the end of June 2023. The treatment area will serve as an anchor point between Philmont’s backcountry camps of Crater Lake and Miners Park and connects to the 1,000-acre fuel break.


Philmont’s project focuses on selectively removing excess vegetation, strategically thinning dense areas, and restoring the natural balance within its forest ecosystems. Through this process important objectives will be achieved:


  1. Mitigating Wildfire Risks: By reducing fuel loads consistent with the ponderosa savannahs creating resilient forests. Restorative thinning helps prevent the rapid spread of wildfires, safeguarding not only Philmont but also surrounding communities.
  2. Promoting Biodiversity: By creating more open spaces and diverse forest structures, restorative thinning encourages the growth of native plants, enhances habitat for wildlife and supports a healthier and more resilient ecosystem.
  3. Improving Forest Health: Removing excess vegetation reduces competition for resources, allowing a spectrum of species in the remaining forest to thrive and grow stronger. This fosters a healthier forest that can better withstand pest infestation and diseases.
  4. Restoring Water Sheds: Reducing tree numbers per acre allows for increased growth of grasses and forbs which in turn minimizes erosion and induces percolation of precipitation back into the water table.
  5. Educating Scouts and Visitors: Philmont will welcome over 20,000 Scouts and visitors from across the country and around the world in the next three months who will see the thinning project in action and will discuss its purpose and process with Philmont staff. This will foster a sense of environmental responsibility and conservation that they will take back to their local communities and lend itself to stewardship of natural resources wherever they call home.


Philmont’s restorative thinning project is supported by Kenneke, Director of Ranching and Conservation, led by Lee Hughes, Director of Conservation and led by Philmont’s Forester Marty Parsons. Collaboration with the State of New Mexico Forestry Division through Cimarron District Forester Mary Stuever has allowed Philmont to work with Miller Timber Services. Miller uses state-of-the-art thinning machinery, processes of working in steep southwestern forests. They are treating approximately ten acres per day.


Most of the material generated through the project is transported to Blanca Forestry Products located in Blanca, CO., in addition to several local mills in New Mexico. Blanca is dedicated to producing high quality lumber and forest products backed by the sustainable harvest of Miller Timber Services. Revenue generated from the project is reinvested into treating additional acres.


Thanks to U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich and New Mexico State Forester Laura McCarthy who were instrumental in securing the 1.3 million dollars needed to initiate this project. Philmont is grateful to the thousands of staff and volunteers who put time, energy, labor, and passion into this project. A special thank you to the thousands of Philmont donors across the country who gave and continue to give to Philmont’s Fire Mitigation and Restoration Fund.


Philmont Scout Ranch leads the way in demonstrating how private landowners can collaborate with neighbors, corporations, state, and federal agencies to address the critical concerns of wildland fires. This project will serve as a model for those entities to work together towards the common goal of a healthier landscape and how it can be accomplished successfully! 

Media Contacts

Philmont Scout Ranch
Director of Business Operations/Marketing and Media

Shelley O’Neill



Renovation to turn Fishers Canyon Open Space into newest outdoor recreation space begins

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) — The City of Colorado Springs recently acquired Fishers Canyon Open Space. Now, the city is working to turn the 343-acre open space into something suitable and safe for public access.

According to the city, work and mitigation for Fishers Canyon began in December. The future trail system and outdoor recreation area will connect to Cheyenne Mountain State Park.

Read More Here

Wildfire mitigation puts in motion Fishers Canyon Open Space development

COLORADO SPRINGS — A major wildfire mitigation project is underway at the future Fishers Canyon Open Space above Broadmoor Bluffs.

“Conservation of the natural and cultural resources, preservation of the wildlife habitat, as well as protection of the mountain backdrop from the city of Colorado Springs,” said Colorado Springs Parks Senior Landscape Architect, David Deitemeyer.

One of the most important parts of the mitigation work is addressing wildfire danger.

The park is in one of the highest wildfire-risk regions of Colorado Springs.

Read More Here

Bald Mountain Stewardship Project Preserves Ski Resort Against Insects, Wildfire

Eye on Sun Valley Daily Local News –


Kurt Nelson surveyed a clearing that had just been carved out on a part of Bald Mountain known as Little Scorpion and envisioned skiing down the perfect fall line, which sported brown slash where dead and dying trees had once stood.

“I told Neil Bradshaw I’m not going to name a run after me, but if I did this would be it,” he said as he gazed down the new opening which fell 1,800 to 2,000 feet down the Warm Springs side of Bald Mountain.

That opening and many more have been opened up by a massive yellow 78,000-pound Ponsse harvester that has worked its way through the Frenchman’s and Scorpion areas this summer, removing dead and dying trees. Read more here.

The Bald Mountain Stewardship Project – National Forest Foundation

The purpose of the Bald Mountain Stewardship Project is to reduce fuels and associated fire risk, improve forest health, and preserve the recreational experience on and around Bald Mountain, home of the Sun Valley Ski Resort. This world-renowned recreational destination drives central Idaho’s economy and is the primary viewshed for the communities of Ketchum and Sun Valley. Read More Here

Taking Care Of Baldy

By Sabina Dana Plasse Photos courtesy Sun Valley Company

As most Wood River Valley residents and those who frequent the area know, wildfire and beetle kill is an ever-present situation that requires consistent attention to mitigate wildfire risk and improve forest health. In an ongoing landscape-scale and multi-year plan as well as a unique partnership, the Bald Mountain Stewardship Project (BMSP) is preserving Baldy in collaboration with Sun Valley Company (SVC), the National Forest Foundation (NFF), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to ensure that our renowned recreation destination continues to be a world-class experience while improving forest health and reducing fuels and associated fire risk. This ambitious project is projected to cover over 6,000 acres of land split between the USFS and the BLM, with over 3,000 acres on Bald Mountain. The project aims to protect the area’s forests, economy, and viewshed. Read More Here