Foresters begin 10-year thinning project

JACKSON — Dozens of firefighters and contracted foresters have been out on foot in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, trimming, limbing and stacking slash piles of trees along the forest front south of Bondurant.

The project is the first phase of a forest thinning and burning effort that covers 16,135 acres, reaching from the east face of Monument Ridge, south past Clark Draw and Clark Butte, and then continuing down to Kilgore Creek along Upper Hoback River Road. When headed out of the Hoback Canyon toward Pinedale, the area covers much of the high country south and west of Highway 189/191 all the way to the Hoback River bridge near the Bondurant post office.

“The project starts on the northwest end, and slowly over a 6- to 10-year period, we’ll work toward the Upper Hoback Road,” Bridger-Teton National Forest Big Piney District Ranger Don Kranendonk told the Jackson Hole Daily.

The goal is twofold: benefiting mule deer and other wildlife by encouraging aspen growth, while also attempting to mitigate the risk of high-intensity wildfires by reducing forest density.

Two years from now, in spring 2022, crews or contractors will ignite the then-cured piles of slash that firefighters are assembling right now, according to a press release from the forest.