The San Juan National Forest Secure Rural Schools Act Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) has approved several natural-resource projects to benefit lands and resources of the National Forest and rural economies in 2012.
Funding is made possible by the reauthorized Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, which funds projects to restore watersheds, decommission or maintain roads and trails, remove noxious weeds or improve forest health. Projects take place on or adjacent to National Forest lands.
Approved proposals are reviewed by the RAC twice a year, which recommends projects to the U.S. Forest Service for funding. The RAC is made up of 15 citizen members and three replacement members representing recreational interests, elected offices, federal permit holders, environmental organizations, archaeological/historical interests and the public at large. RAC members include citizens and officials from Archuleta, Dolores and La Plata counties, the only counties in southwestern Colorado who opted to be a part of the program.
Projects recommended for funding in 2012:
• Mill Creek Road — Archuleta County will receive $44,000 to rebuild one mile of the Mill Creek Road, County Road 302, within the county right of way before the road enters the National Forest. The road accesses Forest roads 662 and 665 and NF lands, residential areas and the county fairgrounds.
• Missionary Ridge Trail — Trails 2000 will receive $8,400 to clear downed trees from the along the Missionary Ridge Trail north of Durango. The trail is heavily used by hunters in fall and is a non-motorized multiple-use trail, including horse, foot and mountain bike use. The deadfall is the result of the Missionary Ridge Fire.
• Upper Pine Fuels Mitigation — The Upper Pine Fire District will receive $6,000 to expand its crew and hire private contract crews to continue fuel mitigation for subdivisions at risk to accomplish safer communities, restoration and maintenance of fire dependent ecosystems.
• Middle Mountain Road — La Plata County will receive $25,966 for upgrades to the first half mile of the county-maintained portion of Forest Road 724 north of Vallecito.
• Revegetation Pilot Project — Mycologic Design and the Mountains Studies Institute will receive $2,000 for a pilot project to use mushrooms to speed up the decomposition time for reseeding purposes at the site of a hydromowing project near the Junction Creek Campground. The mushrooms will be used to create a microhabitat that retains moisture to encourage seed germination. Fungi spores and roots of plants will spread beyond to transport nutrients and aide in establishment of revegetation efforts.
• West Fork Road — Dolores County will receive $30,000 to finish a project to crack-seal 9.7 miles and re-gravel 3 miles of this road, which serves both private property and offer access to the National Forest. The county received funds in the first two rounds of proposals and will have upgraded 15 miles of road at the end of this project.
More information is available online at: www.fs.usda.gov/goto/sanjuan/home.