Watershed logging begins next week

Logging crews Monday will begin hauling heavy equipment into the Ashland Creek watershed in preparation for thinning as part of the Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship project.

Access to U.S. Forest Service Road 2060 will be restricted while crews prepare the road for logging equipment, said project assistant Alicia Fitzgerald.

The city of Ashland is asking people to exercise caution if they plan to use Road 2060 on the western side of the watershed, Fitzgerald said.

Occasionally, sections of the road may be closed from the junction of Forest Service Road 400 south to where Horn Gap and No Candies trails intersect because of timber falling and skidding operations.

Tree falling is scheduled to get under way Tuesday or Wednesday, Lomakatsi Supervisor Aaron Nauth said.

About 100 loads of logs are expected to be removed this summer, with up to a half-million board feet of timber being logged. Hauling won't begin until a day or two after falling operations start, he said.

Forest Energy Group LLC, based in the Rogue Valley, was awarded the logging contract.

The logs will be coming from roughly 100 acres on the Sky Line Mine Ridge in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, at about the 4,900-foot elevation on the edge of the Ashland Creek watershed.

Four to five loads a day will be trucked down U.S. Forest Service Road 2060 to Granite Street and off to a local mill.

The project is a result of a stewardship agreement signed by Lomakatsi, the Forest Service, the city of Ashland and The Nature Conservancy. They say the result will be a healthier forest with a reduced chance of a catastrophic fire that could threaten lives, homes and the city's water source.

Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-499-1470 or email swheeler@dailytidings.com.

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