WILLIAMS — As two additional timber sales supporting forest restoration efforts begin on the Williams Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest, members of the public can expect to see an increasing number of log trucks traveling through the Williams community and heavy, mechanized equipment in the project areas on the forest.
The 1,108-acre Shiner Timber Sale is located about 4 miles south of Williams in the vicinity of Sevier Flat and Shiner Tank. It is bounded on the north by Forest Road 140, on the east by FR 48A, on the south by FR 3258 and on the west by County Road 73.
Log trucks traveling from the Shiner Timber Sale will start on FR 140 or FR 3258, travel north on County Road 73 to Railroad Avenue in Williams, continue west to enter Interstate 40 at the 161 interchange, then travel east to exit at Garland Prairie for the Newpac Fibre mill. During the height of operations, as many as 11 trucks per day could be traveling the route from the forest to the mill Monday through Saturday. Log trucks could begin operations as soon as this week.
The 839-acre Round Mountain East Timber Sale is located about 13 miles southeast of Williams in the vicinity of Round Mountain. It is bounded on the north and west by FR 138, on the south by FR 105 and on the east by FR 11.
Log trucks traveling from the Routh Mountain East Timber Sale will start on FR 11 or FR 138, travel FR 105 east to FR 110, follow FR 110 west to County Road 73, travel north on County Road 73 to Railroad Avenue in Williams, continue west to enter Interstate 40 at the 161 interchange, then travel east to exit at Garland Prairie for the Newpac Fibre mill. During the height of operations, as many as 21 trucks per day could be traveling the route from the forest to the mill Monday through Saturday. Log trucks are expected to begin operations in mid-November.
At the project locations within Kaibab National Forest, visitors will see tree thinning operations that will include use of feller bunchers, skidders and processors. Members of the public are urged to use extreme caution near timber removal and hauling operations. Besides the presence of heavy equipment and log trucks, there will also be trees being felled and stacked into log decks, which can be unstable. Visitors to the area should not camp near nor climb on them, as they often shift and have the possibility of collapse.
The goals of the Shiner Timber Sale are forest health and wildfire risk reduction, with a special emphasis on restoring a historic antelope migration corridor. Work in the Shiner area could continue until June 2018, but forest managers expect it to be completed sooner than that. The overarching goal of the Round Mountain East Timber Sale is the restoration of a ponderosa pine, oak and juniper forested area. Forest managers expect work to continue in the Round Mountain area for the next several months.
Besides the Shiner and Round Mountain East projects, tree removal also continues on the 3,571-acre McCracken Task Order, which is located about 6 miles south of Williams in the vicinity of Coleman Lake and McCracken Knolls. A contractor recently started harvesting operations off of roads 108 and 728. The McCracken project area is bounded on the north by FR 122, on the east and south by County Road 73, and on the west by FR 42. Log trucks are hauling from both FR 108 and FR 728, feeding into County Road 73 and then following the haul route into Williams and onto eastbound Interstate 40.
The objectives of the thinning operations in the McCracken area are to reduce fuel loading and the potential for future high-intensity wildfires, to improve forest health and watershed conditions, and to provide wildfire protection for the City of Williams and its surrounding residences.
“We have a lot of great work getting accomplished on the Williams Ranger District in terms of improving forest health and reducing wildfire risk through these projects,” said Tom Dauenhauer, timber sale administrator. “However, we also need members of the public to be aware that there is going to be a significant increase in the number of log trucks traveling near and through the Williams community. We urge people to use caution and be aware of this traffic over the coming months.”
All of this logging and thinning work on the Williams Ranger District is associated with the Four Forest Restoration Initiative. The goal of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative is to accelerate the pace and scale of restoration within 2.4 million acres of ponderosa pine forest in northern Arizona to increase resilience and proper functioning. Restoring this fire-adapted ecosystem is accomplished with a suite of restoration activities – from watershed maintenance and habitat improvements to prescribed burning and thinning.