Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Greenhorn project will replant trees

Effort to address fire impacts on private land

Express Staff Writer

The intensity of the Beaver Creek Fire in Greenhorn Gulch reduced many trees to ash and left others as mere skeletons. Photo by Roland Lane

    A homeowner in Greenhorn Gulch will undertake a project this fall to cut 115 burned trees on the north-facing hillside behind his house and replant the slope with Douglas fir and Ponderosa pine seedlings. The project is the first of several expected to be proposed in the near future to revegetate private lands blackened by the Beaver Creek Fire last August.
    On Thursday, Aug. 28, the Blaine County Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved a Mountain Overlay site-alteration permit for the project at 241 Greenhorn Road, just west of the junction with Imperial Gulch.
    “The community was hit hard by a natural disaster—all our acreage was scorched,” property owner Arthur Rubinfeld told the commission. “Our approach is to do this properly and do it so that it’s an asset to the community. It’s a view corridor as well as our own backyard.”
    Alpine Tree Service arborist Carl Hjelm said the company’s 135-foot-tall crane can reach most of the dead trees on the approximately 1.4-acre site and pull them out vertically. He said the others can be felled so they drop down to a level accessible by the crane. He said the work would take up to two and a half weeks to finish.
    Hjelm said the expected survival rate of the seedlings is about 50 percent, so twice the number of trees that will be cut will be replanted.

Our approach is to do this properly and do it so that it’s an asset to the community.”
Arthur Rubinfeld
Property owner

    Rubinfeld said aspen trees are already growing naturally at the foot of the hill and spreading upward.
    He told the P&Z that no road would be built in conjunction with the project.
    In a letter to the commission, Sawtooth National Recreation Forester Jim Rineholt said Ponderosa pines exist naturally in the area. He said they more quickly become fire-resistant than do Douglas firs and are less prone to creating ladder fuels that promote crown fires.
    “It could provide a level of diversity should the next decade be as dry as the previous one,” Rineholt stated.
Neighbor William Potter expressed support for the project, pointing out that the many dead trees on the hillside pose a safety hazard. He said other homeowners will be watching to see how Rubinfeld’s project goes.
“We’re in uncharted waters right now,” Potter said. “There will be other applications going through in the next year or so.”
Far more extensive rehabilitation work has been done on public land in Greenhorn and other areas burned by the fire. In November, a five-day, $1.6 million aerial seeding project was carried out on 5,900 acres in the Greenhorn, Deer Creek, Croy Creek and Warm Springs drainages. In addition, straw mulch was dropped by helicopter on about 570 acres in Greenhorn and Imperial gulches to reduce erosion there.
    Ketchum District Ranger Kurt Nelson said in an interview that Forest Service employees will be assessing results of the project over the next couple of weeks.
    “The indications that we’re seeing show good results both for the aerial seeding and the native vegetation that’s coming back,” Nelson said.

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

Copyright © 2014 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.