Medicine Bow National Forest’s Pole Mountain Unit between Laramie and Cheyenne is undergoing a large-scale vegetation improvement project. Activities for the project will take place over the next seven to ten years, but the initial phases are beginning this summer and fall.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, the plan is to create a resilient, diverse and healthy forest. Nearly 9,000 acres of land has been authorized to be treated under the project.

At this point, the native vegetation for wildlife and livestock in that area is in decline. Conifers are encroaching on sagebrush habitats, fuel loading is occurring and the resiliency of the forest is of increasing concern.

Methods for Pole Mountain will include mechanical and fire vegetation treatments.

Currently, work is being done at on the northeast corner of Pole Mountain, off both sides of 712 Road, also called Telephone Road. Activities in this area will include manually thinning some vegetation, chainsaw work and prescribed burns.

Aaron Voos, public affairs specialist for the Forest Service, says that prescribed burns will be announced before they take place. He says that if anyone sees smoke in the area and does not know about a planned burn, they should call the Forest Service to report it.

Most of the work done on Pole Mountain will be within the forest itself rather than on roads, according to Voos. As a result, access for the public to Pole Mountain should not be limited by this project.

The final goals are to improve habitat and range conditions, create a variety of vegetation species focusing on aspen and ponderosa pine, decrease the likelihood of severe forest and wild-land fire, and increase the resiliency of native vegetation.

For more information, visit the Forest Service website at http://fs.usda.gov/mbr.