Thurston Hills, forestry, trails assessment released

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THURSTON – A revised Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Thurston Hills Non-Motorized Trails and Forest Management Project was released last week and includes five alternatives for the project.
The project is located approximately eight miles southeast of downtown Springfield, adjacent to the Thurston Hills Natural Area managed by Willamalane Parks and Recreation District.
The revised EA includes five alternatives for the Thurston Hills Non-Motorized Trails and Forest Management Project.
In three of the alternatives, a timber harvest would remove selected trees to establish a new stand of timber on 109 to 165 acres. Timber harvest would include road work along portions of 79th Street on BLM property and log-haul down 79th Street.
Overall, the project is expected to generate four to six million board feet of timber and create approximately 52 jobs, according to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) release.
In three alternatives, BLM would designate 8.3 to 8.5 miles of new hiking and mountain biking trails and associated Recreation Management Zones, providing 100 feet around every future trail’s centerline to manage for recreation objectives, including open space and non-motorized trail opportunities.
The new hiking and mountain biking trails would connect to existing trails at the Thurston Hills Natural Area, offering a mix of intermediate and advanced mountain biking experiences with approximately two-thirds of the new trail system meandering through forested areas and one-third of the system along more open, tree lined trails.
The revised EA includes an analysis of how the proposed project would affect fire hazard and fire risk. Under all harvest alternatives, 100% of harvested acres would consist of whole trees yarded to address concerns of fire hazard and risk from logging slash, such as limbs, branches and tree tops.
Overall, this logging method would reduce the amount of slash left in the units. Harvested areas where heavy concentrations of slash remain after whole-tree yarding would receive additional treatments such as piling and burning, according to the release.
Public input is encouraged within a 30-day timeframe. Comments can be submitted to: [email protected].



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