Monument Ridge Project underway
On the Big Piney Ranger District
by Bridger-Teton National Forest
July 3, 2020
Phase 1 of The Monument Ridge Vegetation and Recreation Management project is currently underway. The project area is located on the Big Piney Ranger District of the Bridger-Teton National Forest near the town of Bondurant. The habitat/fuels treatment area is within the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) where Monument Ridge borders the western edge of the treatment area and the residential area along the Hoback River borders the eastern edge.
The Monument Ridge Vegetation and Recreation Management Project, proposed by the Sublette County Collaborative, is multifaceted. It addresses vegetation management within the wildland urban interface; wildlife habitat enhancement for mule deer, sage grouse, and other wildlife species, along with safety and access improvements for recreation.
Forest Service Contractors and Fire Crews are thinning and piling trees near the Hoback Guard Station and falling trees on 2000 acres along Monument Ridge (see map) to prepare for a planned prescribed fire in 2022. These treatments remove conifer encroachment in aspen stands and encourage aspen reproduction through the disturbance of prescribed fire. This treatment also removes conifer encroachment from the sage steppe increasing the health of the sage brush ecosystem. This part of the Monument Project is also designed to reduce hazardous fuel loading to mitigate the risk of high intensity/severity wildfire.
The slash produced from the tree felling along Monument Ridge will remain from spring 2020 to spring 2022. The 2-year period will allow the slash to cure and become an available fuel bed for a prescribe fire in Spring 2022. This process allows fire crews to implement the prescribed burn in the spring season. The cured fuel bed allows fire personnel to implement the prescribed burn before fire season while utilizing high fuel moistures in the surrounding vegetation to ensure the prescribed fire stays within established boundaries. USFS designated trails will remain open and clear of vegetation debris throughout this phase and the entirety of the project.
For more information, call Don Kranendonk (USFS Bridger-Teton NF, Big Piney District Ranger). 307-276-5810.