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Philmomt Timber Harvest/Forest Restoration - 5 years after UTE Park fire

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June 5, 2023:

"Philmont announced today that they have initiated the first phase of an aggressive Forest Restoration project utilizing state-of-the-art mechanical thinning. This thinning process allows for a one-pass treatment of overgrown forests with a focus on the restoration, protection, and sustainability of the landscape and watersheds for future generations.


The first phase, a 600-acre Restorative Thinning Project began in mid-April and will be completed by the end of June 2023. The treatment area will serve as an anchor point between Philmont’s backcountry camps of Crater Lake and Miners Park and connects to the 1,000-acre fuel break.


Philmont’s restorative thinning project is supported by Kenneke, Director of Ranching and Conservation, led by Lee Hughes, Director of Conservation and led by Philmont’s Forester Marty Parsons. Collaboration with the State of New Mexico Forestry Division through Cimarron District Forester Mary Stuever has allowed Philmont to work with Miller Timber Services. Miller uses state-of-the-art thinning machinery, processes of working in steep southwestern forests. They are treating approximately ten acres per day.

Most of the material generated through the project is transported to Blanca Forestry Products located in Blanca, CO., in addition to several local mills in New Mexico. Blanca is dedicated to producing high quality lumber and forest products backed by the sustainable harvest of Miller Timber Services. Revenue generated from the project is reinvested into treating additional acres.

Thanks to U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich and New Mexico State Forester Laura McCarthy who were instrumental in securing the 1.3 million dollars needed to initiate this project. Philmont is grateful to the thousands of staff and volunteers who put time, energy, labor, and passion into this project. A special thank you to the thousands of Philmont donors across the country who gave and continue to give to Philmont’s Fire Mitigation and Restoration Fund."

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  • 2 months later...

"The forestry crews focus on removing understory and selected trees that increase the amount of space between trees, allow for growth of grasses and fine fuels, and provide conditions that will burn with much less intensity. This work not only protects people, watersheds, and infrastructure, but it creates healthier forest habitat. These forest thinning projects follow major backcountry access roads, creating “shaded fuel breaks” along priority road corridors. In the event of a fire, this shaded fuel break will provide a buffer that allows for backcountry staff and participants to escape, and an access for firefighting personnel to enter and exit the area and undertake safer fire operations. In addition to the dedicated forestry crews, Backcountry camp staff implement “defensible space” thinning around their cabins in order to make them easier to protect in the event of the next fire. 

Once the trees are cut down, they still need to be removed from the forest. Trunks of large trees are milled into lumber by a specialized staff crew and are used in a variety of projects around the Ranch. Trees that are too small to be milled are cut up into firewood that is given away to the local communities. The smaller branches that cannot be used for either purpose are piled in open areas, left to dry, and then burned during the winter."


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