A multi-year timber harvest operation in the Lake Owen area has begun this week. The Lake Owen Timber Sale is part of a cooperative effort between Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities, the State of Wyoming, and the U.S. Forest Service. The project is being implemented through the Good Neighbor Authority, with the Wyoming State Forestry Division serving as the contracting agency and project administrator. The total project area is just over 300 acres.
This project will improve forest health, reduce the amount and continuity of existing fuels surrounding Lake Owen, as well as special use permit areas. Additionally, it will protect municipal infrastructure and water quality within the project area.
In order to safely conduct logging operations, a Forest Order has been put in place which temporarily prohibits dispersed camping and parking along Forest Road 540. A small section of National Forest, which encompasses the cutting units, has also been temporarily closed for public safety during the project.
The 540 Road remains open to public travel and can be used to access Lake Owen Day-Use site, trailheads for Medicine Bow Rail Trail, Lake Owen Boat Dock, and Lake Owen Campground. The Rail Trail will be open through the closure area. Trail users will be required to stay on the trail and access the trail only through Forest Service developed sites.
Harvest activities are expected to be completed by the fall of 2020. The timber sale is located in the Snowy Range on the Laramie Ranger District, Medicine Bow National Forest.
During active timber operations, the closure will be in place 24 hours a day and seven days a week until project completion.
This project has been in the works for five years and follows recommendations in the Cheyenne Municipal Watershed Wildfire Hazard Mitigation Assessment Report. The report was conducted for the Wyoming Water Development Commission in partnership with the City of Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities to support objectives outlined in the Final Report of the Governor’s Task Force on Forests.
Visitors to the Lake Owen portion of the National Forest, and even outside of the work areas, may encounter machinery near the timber sale. When machinery is encountered, visitors are advised to use caution and slow down. Additionally, the public should not enter areas which are posted closed, as they are closed for their safety.
Temporary closures are a short-term inconvenience needed to provide for long-term public safety. Forest users need to be aware of ongoing changes that may affect their travel and recreation plans.
For more information about the project, contact Mick Hood, Project Forester with Wyoming State Forestry Division, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Brooke Owens, Timber Management Assistant with the Laramie Ranger District, email@example.com.
For more information about recreation on the Laramie Ranger District, contact the District Office at (307) 745-2300 or stop by 2468 Jackson St. in Laramie from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. You can also visit our website at http://fs.usda.gov/mbr, or follow the Medicine Bow National Forest on Twitter, @FS_MBRTB.