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Making a difference at Monarch Pass:

Project salvages beetle-kill trees on steep slopes to reduce wildfire risk, protect water resources

While the Upper Arkansas Valley has received plenty of rain this summer, smoke in the air has served as a reminder that the threat of wildfire is never far away, a situation made more urgent by the brown forest of beetle-kill trees around Monarch Pass. Thanks to a collaborative effort led by the U.S. Forest Service and the Arkansas River Watershed Collaborative (ARWC), the threat of catastrophic wildfire is lessening around Monarch Pass. 

With 90% of mature trees in the area killed by spruce beetles, the Monarch Pass Forest and Watershed Health Project is removing the dead trees to reduce the fuel load and the risk of catastrophic wildfire. The project employs new logging technology—cut-to-length, or CTL, equipment—to remove beetle-kill trees on steep slopes. Compared to traditional steep-slope logging methods, the CTL approach provides a more economical, less damaging method of harvesting timber.

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