$13.4M to help beetle-kill areas in Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests, White River National Forest

DENVER - Two Colorado companies have won contracts to thin national forests in Wyoming and Colorado, with some of the wood likely going toward heating homes.

The U.S. Forest Service said that the 10-year stewardship contracts will help reduce threats of catastrophic wildfires on at least 20,000 acres.

Kremmling-based Confluence Energy won a $4.75 million contract to remove beetle-killed trees in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests. Confluence will pay for material that could be used for commercial purposes.

West Range Reclamation, of Hotchkiss, has an $8.66 million contract to remove trees susceptible to infestation in the White River National Forest. It is developing uses for the trees with Eagle Valley Clean Energy, which plans a biomass power plant in Gypsum with financing from a $40 million loan guarantee from the USDA.

The two contracts identify projects that will treat a minimum of 20,000 acres in two national forests. 

“Not only will these contracts help us alleviate the impacts of the mountain pine beetle infestation and reduce the threats of catastrophic wildfire, but they also will offer a supply of woody biomass that will be used to produce low-cost heat and a clean, renewable source of electricity,” said USDA Under Secretary Harris Sherman.