BLM to begin additional phase of vegetative treatments near Blue Creek Bay
COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho - Logging operations will begin this month on the Bureau of Land Management’s Blue Creek East Timber Sale in the Wallace Forest Conservation Area (WFCA) at Blue Creek Bay. The project will address forest health issues and the reduction of hazardous fuels to reduce the threat of wildfire in the area.
The Blue Creek East timber sale is the second of several planned vegetative treatment projects by the BLM to reduce the impacts of root disease and bug infestations in the WFCA. The timber sale will focus on a 295-acre area and is expected to generate 2.2 million board feet of timber. A north Idaho contractor, Vidovich Forestry Consulting Inc., purchased the Blue Creek East Timber Sale in late September.
“Root disease has infected many of the Douglas fir and grand fir trees throughout the 751-acre forest the BLM manages at Blue Creek Bay,” said Robin Snider, Acting Coeur d’Alene Field Manager. “Through timber harvest and hazardous fuels reduction activities, we hope to remove many of the dead and dying trees, reduce the threat of wildfire, and preserve the health and character of the Wallace Forest Conservation Area.”
Root disease causes trees to rot out at the base from the inside and fall without warning, affecting trees that often appear to be perfectly healthy. All trees affected by and susceptible to root disease will be removed in the project area.
Following harvest activities, treated areas will be planted with more root disease-tolerant species, including western larch, ponderosa pine and western white pine. The BLM hopes that through active management and vegetation treatments, the Wallace Forest Conservation Area will be more resilient against future attacks from insects and disease.
The BLM has completed a 200-foot fuel break in the WFCA to date, focusing on areas adjacent to private lands in an effort to reduce the risk of wildfire. In addition, 36 acres of pre-commercial thinning has been conducted to reduce overstocked stands, and 171 acres were commercially logged through the Blue Creek West timber sale two years ago to reduce dead and diseased trees.
Multiple recreation projects have also been completed at Blue Creek Bay, providing more opportunities for the public. A new trail and stream crossing in the meadow area provides connectivity to both the east and west sides of the WFCA. Hikers can enjoy a new loop trail in the east side trail system. In addition, work on the west side of the area includes redefining equestrian/hiking trails and establishing mountain biking/hiking trails.
The BLM advises recreationists visiting the east side of Blue Creek Bay to pay extra attention to heavy equipment signage and avoid areas where equipment is working. Portions of the trail system on the east side of the WFCA may be periodically unavailable when harvest activities are underway in the area. Visitors should also anticipate an increase in truck traffic traveling on the roadway due to timber harvest activity.
For additional information, please contact Debbie Paul, BLM Forester, at 208-769-5028
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in the 11 Western states and Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. In fiscal year 2018, the diverse activities authorized on BLM-managed lands generated $105 billion in economic output across the country. This economic activity supported 471,000 jobs and contributed substantial revenue to the U.S. Treasury and state governments, mostly through royalties on minerals.