Pikes Peak Ranger District to implement Upper Monument Creek fuels reduction project

The Pikes Peak Ranger District on the Pike-San Isabel National Forests will be conducting a fuels reduction project in Upper Monument Creek in support of the United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service’s 10-year Wildfire Crisis Strategy. The purpose of this project is to create a defensible space along Mt. Herman Road as well as along the Forest Service boundary. This project is scheduled to begin the week of June 5, 2023, and is expected to last approximately two weeks.

Due to safety concerns such as flying debris and felled tree limbs, the project area must be avoided by the public during the entire project period.

There are two mastication treatment areas. Up to 25 acres will be treated in Area 1, which involves masticating hand piles created from previous treatments. Up to 150 acres will be treated in Area 2 and involve masticating small diameter trees or “ladder fuels,” which will create a defensible space/fuel break for the adjacent subdivision and town of Monument.

Mechanical thinning of forests reduces the amount of vegetation that has built up to dangerous levels and benefits forests by reducing the probability of catastrophic fires, helping maintain and restore healthy and resilient ecosystems, and protecting lives and communities near the boundaries between wildlands and urbanization. Mechanical treatment can be used on its own or together with prescribed burning to change how wildfire behaves so that if a fire does burn through a treated area, it is less destructive, less costly, and easier to control.

“The U.S. Forest Service ensures that mechanical thinning sustains healthy forest ecosystems while also protecting lives and property,” said Pikes Peak District Ranger Carl Bauer. “We rely on skilled professionals who are guided by law and policy and grounded by science.”

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @PSICCNF for the latest updates.

Vehicle Break-Ins Reported Around the Monument Fire Center

Account #1 – Around 540 PM, I pulled into my normal parking spot at the first trailhead (nursery rd) in the dirt spots directly off the road and observed the two cars immediately next to me had their windows smashed out. I left and went to park somewhere else due to the circumstances.

Account #2 – Hey, all. Just want to give you all a warning. My car was broken into the Monument Rock, nursery road trailhead. Apparently, the girl’s car next to me was also. She was so sweet and left a note. But these dirtbags went straight to Walmart and spent over $500.

FOMP Response => Please note that this area is not under the jurisdiction of the Town of Monument Police (outside the city limits) and is instead taken care of by the El Paso County Sheriff. If you have been a Smash and Grab victim, please call the Sheriff’s office.

If you are a victim of any break-in, report it!

Please be careful, and take all valuables with you when you bike, hike, or run. In addition, keep anything like packs, purses, etc., hidden and out of sight. Watch your surroundings and note anything odd in the parking lot, including suspicious vehicles or people. 

El Paso County Sheriff: Non-Emergency Dispatch Phone Line (719) 390-5555

FOMP May 2023 Trail Night

Main Agenda: Continue cleaning trails to remove debris from fire mitigation and begin maintenance work.

Tuesday, May 9th at 6:00 PM

FOMP is pleased to be holding one of our monthly volunteer trail work maintenance sessions for 2023.

Please register here so that we have a headcount: FOMP May 2023 Trail Night

Please meet at the main parking lot at Mt Herman and Nursery https://goo.gl/maps/rdJuhbbQWEx

Check the website too! http://www.fomp.org

The rest of the info you need: FOMP and USFS provide all the necessary tools. Volunteers should wear appropriate clothing for performing outdoor landscaping type of work. Volunteers should wear long pants and sturdy shoes and bring leather gloves, a hat, a personal water supply, eye protection, sunscreen, and bug repellent. We meet rain or shine unless there is lightning active in the area.

We make every effort to accommodate volunteer preferences and abilities at each event. Generally, we perform water bar building or renovation, trail renovation, maintenance, trimming, etc. So, everything from trimming back scrub oak or digging lots of dirt to moving boulders. We assign duties based on interests and capabilities. Kids are welcome to join their parents; however, we do ask that you evaluate whether this is an appropriate activity for your child or not.

Be aware that all participants will need to sign a waiver before beginning any trail work.

Thanks, and we hope to see you out there!

FOMP

FOMP April 2023 Trail Night

Main Agenda: Cleaning and raking the trails to remove debris from fire mitigation work

Tuesday, April 11th at 5:00 PM

FOMP is pleased to be holding one of our monthly volunteer trail work maintenance sessions for 2023.  

Please register here so that we have a headcount: FOMP April 2023 Trail Night

Please meet at the main parking lot at Mt Herman and Nursery https://goo.gl/maps/rdJuhbbQWEx

Check the website too! http://www.fomp.org

The rest of the info you need: FOMP and USFS provide all the necessary tools. Volunteers should wear appropriate clothing for performing outdoor landscaping type of work. Volunteers should wear long pants and sturdy shoes and bring leather gloves, a hat, a personal water supply, eye protection, sunscreen, and bug repellent. We meet rain or shine unless there is lightning active in the area.

We make every effort to accommodate volunteer preferences and abilities at each event. Generally, we perform water bar building or renovation, trail renovation, maintenance, trimming, etc. So, everything from trimming back scrub oak or digging lots of dirt to moving boulders. We assign duties based on interests and capabilities. Kids are welcome to join their parents; however, we do ask that you evaluate whether this is an appropriate activity for your child or not.

Be aware that all participants will need to sign a waiver before beginning any trail work.

Thanks, and we hope to see you out there!

FOMP

FOMP Monument Preserve Fire Mitigation Statement

USFS Upper Monument Creek – Monument Fuels Treatment

Most of you know that the USFS continues its three-year fire mitigation project in the 1,000 acres of open space surrounding the Monument Fire Center. According to the Fuels Management Office of the Pikes Peak Ranger District, this area was designated as extremely high risk for high-intensity, potentially catastrophic wildfires. Thus, USFS concentrated its money and efforts here to protect the wildland-urban interface and surrounding communities.

Monument Mastication talking points:

  • Reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires
  • Maintain healthy and resilient forests for future generations
  • Actively manage the landscape to increase the resiliency of the forest
  • Improve the health of the forest, watersheds, and wildlife habitat
  • Create fuel breaks in strategic locations for firefighter safety, to prevent fire spread, and create holding areas for prescribed fire
  • Ponderosa pine islands, individual trees, & large old oak trees would be protected
  • Remove Gambel oak and other woody brush that may serve as ladder fuels and encourage pine regeneration
  • Leave variation in oak growth forms, sizes, age classes, densities, and spatial distribution
  • Future treatments to follow during the winter seasons
  • Hand Thinning – Trees would be hand thinned using chainsaws.
  • Mastication – Oak shrubs & small trees will be mulched into small chunks by a rubber tire or tracked equipment.

While we appreciate the need for mitigation, FOMP has concerns about the execution of the project compared to the originally planned thinning operations. That is, while we were prepared for a mosaic cutting pattern, leaving islands of pines, firs, and Gambel oak, some areas have been completely leveled.

And while the Forest Service advertised promoting a more complex vegetation structure, the contractor left only the largest pines in many areas, with no medium-sized trees or scrub. Finally, these areas are completely cleared of growth on numerous slopes where FOMP members worked with USFS approval to plant pine seedlings in burn sites and ensure seedling release. FOMP is in contact with the Forest Service to voice these concerns and hopefully impact the next phase.

Many of our trails have been damaged due to equipment use and accumulation of slash. The USFS relies on FOMP to maintain trails and allow for the wide variety of recreational uses we all enjoy. During this project, the USFS informed FOMP that although they were not proactively protecting non-system trails, they did not intend to ruin or close any trails. Thus, once the contract work is completed and areas are opened, FOMP will organize volunteer work days to clear authorized trails and repair damage. In some cases, we will optimize trail alignment to avoid low spots where water pools to increase sustainability.

We will use our monthly trail work nights, the second Tuesday of each month, April – October, at 6:00 p.m., as well as additional work days to address the large amount of work to be done. Please watch for email and social media announcements, and help us recruit volunteers. We all look forward to getting the trails back into shape and enjoying our corner of Pike National Forest.

March 2023 BOD Meeting

FOMP is pleased to announce our March 2023 Board Meeting

Meeting Time:
Tuesday, March 14th at 7:00 PM

We are doing a Zoom meeting. If you want to attend, please go ahead and RSVP to info@fomp.org, and more login details will be provided.

 Board Member Updates

  • President and Vice President update.
  • Secretary and Treasurer update.

Topics

  • Fire Mitigation Updates
  • Tool Updates
  • BOD Updates

Open Discussion

Thanks

FOMP BOD

Feb 2023 BOD Meeting

FOMP BOD Meeting

FOMP is pleased to announce our February 2023 Board Meeting

Meeting Time:
Monday, Feb 13th at 7:00 PM (Not Tuesday, since 14th is Valentines Day)

We are doing a Zoom meeting. If you want to attend, please go ahead and RSVP to info@fomp.org, and more login details will be provided.

 Board Member Updates

  • President and Vice President update.
  • Secretary and Treasurer update.

Topics

  • USFS Updates.
  • BOD Updates

Open Discussion

Thanks

FOMP BOD

USFS Fire Mitigation in the Monument Preserve – Area 1 & Area 2

USFS Fire Mitigation in the Monument Preserve

Please be aware that USFS contractors will conduct thinning operations at the Monument Preserve as a form of fire mitigation or fuel mastication. These operations are a part of the larger Upper Monument Creek Landscape Restoration Project to restore forests in the Rampart Range area. The fuel treatment project will reduce wildfire risk and create a more complex vegetation structure.

The USFS has officially lifted the Area 1 closure (Ref: Termination of Order). Beginning the first week in January, there will be some cleanup work in and around Area 1 to resolve anything missed during the initial work and hand-felling treatment work. They will also be limbing trees along Mt. Herman Road.

Area 2 thinning operations will begin the week of January 2nd and last until March 3rd (Ref: Phase 2 South Order). The Area includes the central portions of the Fire Center area (the hatched section in the map).

For public safety during operations, the USFS has informed us that the areas of Area 2 will be closed to use during the work period, though they’ll be open on the weekends. Various large equipment and hand tools will be used to thin the vegetation, and hazardous conditions may exist in the treatment area. The closure is needed to ensure the safety of the public and the operators. 

The USFS has informed FOMP that while there may be damage to some trails due to equipment used in the mitigation process and accumulation of slash, there is no intent to destroy or close trails associated with this project.

USFS Fire Mitigation in the Monument Preserve – Area 1 Work Started

Area 1 work in progress – Photo courtesy of Brad Baker

USFS Fire Mitigation in the Monument Preserve

Please be aware that the USFS will be conducting thinning operations at the Monument Preserve as a form of fire mitigation. These operations are a part of the larger Upper Monument Creek Landscape Restoration Project to restore forests in the Rampart Range area. The fuel treatment project will reduce the risk of wildfire and create a more complex vegetation structure in the area.

Area 1 thinning operations began this week and last until the end of the year and include the northern portion of the Fire Center area (the hatched portion in the map).

Area 2 begins in January 2023, lasts through March 2023, and includes the most central portions of the Fire Center.

For public safety during operations, the USFS has informed us that the areas of Areas 1 & 2 will be closed to use during the work period, though they’ll be open on the weekends. A variety of large equipment and hand tools will be used to thin the vegetation, and hazardous conditions may exist in the treatment area. The closure is needed to ensure the safety of the public and the operators. 

Area 1 work in progress – Photo courtesy of Brad Baker

The USFS has informed FOMP that while there may be damage to some trails due to equipment used in the mitigation process and accumulation of slash, there is no intent to destroy or close trails associated with this project.

Here are the original maps for Area 1 & 2 closures.

Focus on the Forest clean up – Lower Mt. Herman Cleanup

Focus on the Forest clean up – Lower Mt. Herman Cleanup

Saturday, November 12th at 9:00 AM

Join us for the cleanup of MULTIPLE hotspots at the base of Mt Herman Rd that need our attention before the weather prevents it. We really need about 15 people to get these areas done well, so feel free to bring a friend.

MEETING LOCATION:  Carpool/Caravan to the cleanup sites; ARRIVE 15 min EARLY

The road does NOT require 4WD but is dirt, so a higher clearance front-wheel drive vehicle is preferred.

9:00 am – Departs from Monument: Dirty Woman Park (17575 Mitchell Ave) in the main parking lot by the playing field.

LUNCH:   PROVIDED after the cleanup at about noon 

BRING:  Refillable water bottle, gloves, wear sunscreen, a coat, long pants & STURDY shoes/boots

PROVIDED:  water, gloves (if needed), grabbers, trash bag

PRE-REGISTRATION is VERY helpful so that we can be sure to bring enough supplies & food for everyone

PRE-REGISTER HERE

Thanks, and we hope to see you out there!

FOMP