• Collaborative works with SV/Lincoln conservation districts.
The work of the Greys River Collaborative could be expanding in 2024.
Chuck Butterfield, overseeing the program, said it is designed to assist the Bridger-Teton National Forest with specific projects. He has been working with Star Valley Conservation District and as the past year came to an end, he opened conversations with the Lincoln County Conservation District in Cokeville and Kemmerer.
“I met with the Lincoln County Conservation district out of Cokeville. We have also met with the towns of Kemmerer, Diamondville and Cokeville and we met with the Forest Service there to work at ways to engage the rest of the county,” reported Butterfield. “This is similar to what Sublette County has done county wide.”
Butterfield summarized, The Greys River Collaborative now works with the Star Valley Conservation District and could expand to include the Lincoln County Conservation District out of Cokeville and that includes LaBarge.
“I am working with them as well as the federal agencies involved,” Butterfield said.
Should the work be combined into one county-wide area, they will have the resources of a recent study. “We have been meeting with the Beck Group,” Butterfield explained. “That group is doing what is called a wood basket study or a product study for the region.” He continued, “They are looking at the Bridger Teton from Kemmerer all the way to Black Rock. They will provide tools for economic development. They will give us leverage for getting some of these timber sales completed.”
The Greys River Collaborative already put together a proposed sale in the Tri-Basin. However, the sale has yet to be taken. That proposal included road and fisheries improvements as part of the project.
Other projects considered by the Greys River Collaborative include working in the Star Valley region. Butterfield recalled, “Our original intent with the collaborative when it got started in 2017 was to help the Forest Service on various projects. They lack capacity so we’re trying to help them move forward.” He added, “We were instrumental in pushing forward the Greys River Road, the fuels treatment, and the work along the Grover Park Road. The intent is to be able to do some holding work if we do have a fire.
He added, “We have also been reducing fuels around Alpine and Greys River Feed Ground. That fits in with the work with the Alpine Area Fire Protection Coalition.”
For Grover Park, he said the collaborative would like to complete work on a master plan for high use area. “We do have a project for Grover Park and a master plan that includes grazing, recreation, timber management and fuels management.”
Butterfield advised the focus in the coming year needs to turn to the use and removal of old timber in this area.
“We want to see if we can utilize the timber we have up there,” he said. “One of the things the collaborative is focused on is multiple use. We have a lot of trees up there that have become decedent. We have some pine beetle invitation. We have a resource there that we really need to tap into. It is a source of economic income for the surrounding area.”
He said there are variety of uses for the timber. “We are looking at how we can move that beyond just firewood. What are the potentials for post and pole work? Woodchips for a biofuel project? We have worked with a few people to increase their firewood, but what else is out there? Is their potential for some saw log?”
Noting the Tri-Basin sale, he advised, “We have about five other timber sales that have been identified that we want to do. We are working along with the Forest Service to increase the ability to get that done. It’s most of the way through NEPA, the National Environmental Policy Act.”
Butterfield said the Lynx and white bark pine issues will need further work in those sales, “but a lot of that work is pretty well settled.” He added, “Now it’s about going to go out and do botanical clearances. We will need to look at the road to be able to get logging trucks in and out.”
Looking at the expansion of the collaborative beyond Star Valley to include all of Lincoln County’s communities, Butterfield offered, “This will be a good opportunity to hear from the public if they want to get a hold of us.” Again, referencing Grover Park, he concluded, “There will be that opportunity and we will be open to opportunities on other projects.”
Star Valley Conservation District: Kay Lynn Nield District Manager, email@example.com
Lincoln County Conservation District: DeMont Grandy, LCD Natural Resource Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org
Greys River Collaborative: Chuck Butterfield, email@example.com>
The Bridger-Teton National Forest held an overview presentation on the overall forest plan Jan. 16. That can be viewed at https://www.btfriends.org/