The White River National Forest is seeking public comment on a proposal that includes wildfire fuel reduction treatments and recreation improvements south of Frisco in the area known as the “Frisco Backyard.”
“We need to address the hazardous wildfire fuel loads in the area as well as make a number of improvements for long-term, sustainable recreation,” said Dillon District Ranger Adam Bianchi. “By including all the activities under one environmental analysis, we are better able to address potential impacts and integrate the work.”
The Frisco Backyard is south and east of downtown Frisco and includes Mount Royal, Miners Creek, Rainbow Lake, Ophir Mountain, and Gold Hill.
The White River National Forest is proposing fuel reduction on up to 1,233 acres within 11 identified treatment units in lodgepole pine, mixed conifer and fir, and aspen forests.
“Past wildfire suppression activities and the mountain pine beetle epidemic have left us with high fuel loads in this area which increase wildfire risk to the Town of Frisco, especially when combined with the impacts from climate change,” Bianchi said.
“The Frisco Backyard is also an important outdoor recreation resource, providing a variety of opportunities for nature-based recreation close to downtown Frisco, but we are seeing impacts such as user created-trails and damage to vegetation in riparian areas,” said Town of Frisco Planning Manager Susan Lee.
“We need to take action to make the trails sustainable and ensure the area remains a premiere recreation location,” Bianchi said.
The Forest is proposing approximately 21 miles of trails projects, including improving existing trails, closing or rerouting redundant or unsustainable routes, designating one-direction trails, and identifying trails appropriate for winter grooming. Additional proposed projects include restoring vegetation within the Rainbow Lake area and improving trailhead and parking areas.
“We are working with Town of Frisco to determine whether it would be appropriate for them to help us maintain these heavily used National Forest System trails under a permit,” Bianchi said.
The Frisco Backyard is within the recently designated Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument, which recognizes the importance of managing the area’s natural and recreation resources. The proposed fuels reduction and recreation improvements are consistent with the management guidelines outlined in the Monument Proclamation.
A public open house to provide information and answer questions about the proposal will be held by the staff from the White River National Forest on May 2, 2023 from 5:00 to 7:00pm at the Frisco Adventure Park Day Lodge at 621 Recreation Way.
Comments need to be received by May 15, 2023.