Forest Service closes area in Ward Canyon | SierraSun.com

Forest Service closes area in Ward Canyon

" Joanna Hartman, Sierra Sun

In the interest of public safety, the U.S. Forest Service Monday ordered the closure to the public of an area in Ward Canyon that is being logged.

The project, located between Tahoe Woods and Big Pine, is aimed at reducing forest density. The unnatural tree thickness and heavy fuels accumulation poses a risk of wildfire, according to Forest Service reports.

High recreational use along with the safety risk resulted in the forest order prohibiting walking, biking or driving into the area.

“It’s a safety concern,” said Rex Norman, the spokesman for Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit of the Forest Service. “People keep entering the area, and with the potential for injury.”

The contractor doing the logging reportedly has had several close calls with the public while thinning trees and treating slash, according to the Forest Service.

Newspaper and Web site releases in efforts to educate the public about the dangers of the operations have done little to decrease the number of people entering the project area, Norman said.

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The temporary closure will be effective until project completion on Sept. 22.