Starting the week of, September 10th, forest fire specialists working within Grand Canyon National Park will begin thinning the forests in the area. Spokespeople for the park have assured the public that it’s simply a matter of safety, however, and that trees will only be removed to create areas of ground that are safe in the event of a forest fire. Taken into consideration is the safety of not only human beings, but also structures and roads, all of which will be safer after the two planned thinning projects have been completed.
The first of the two thinning projects will begin this week, covering a 153 acre area across from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, and is expected to last up to a month. Those worried about hazardous debris near the visitor center can rest assured knowing that the thinning crew will be scattering the debris away from all buildings.
The second project, the longer of the two, will take place immediately after the first project is done. Due to its location near the Yavapai lodges, some debris will need to be removed right away. After the area near the lodge is clear, the debris will simply be scattered away from buildings and roads. This project will take longer than the first, with a projected completion date 45 days after it begins.
Luckily for visitors to the Grand Canyon, this will only make the landscape more beautiful. In thinning, each tree that is cut down is mulched to fertilize the rest of the forest, enriching the soil and helping the remaining trees continue to grow. Not only will the lower tree density help prevent the spread of wildfire, but it will beautify the landscape and remove the remains of decaying plants. Both projects should be complete within a month and a half, and during that time the crews working will be considerate of visitors to the park.
If you would like to learn more about the thinning projects taking place near the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, you can visit the official park website for the Grand Canyon National Park’s Fire Management Program or call South District Fire Management Officer Daniel Pearson at (928) 638-7934.