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Watershed helicopter work done

A helicopter that has been flying logs off steep slopes in the Ashland Creek watershed during the past month has finished work, but many popular trails in the area remain closed because of continued thinning efforts and logging truck traffic.

The Ashland Forest Resiliency Project also plans to conduct controlled burns elsewhere in the watershed starting today.

Forest Service Road 2060 from its intersection with Granite Street to above the Horn Gap area remains closed on weekdays, as do Horn Gap, Ostrich Peak and Mystical trails, according to a project update released Monday by project officials.

The parking area past the end of Granite Street is now open, but users can only access the trail along Ashland Creek from there, the release said.

Upper Missing Links and No Candies trails remain closed on weekdays and weekends.

Hitt Road Trail will be open from Strawberry Lane to where it is gated before a large clearing as it transitions to Forest Service Road 300. The section of the road beyond the gate is closed to its intersection with the 2060 road.

Signs are posted in the area to notify trail users where closures begin.

Granite Street will continue to see heavy use by logging trucks through the end of the year. The trucks will carry logs through town and ultimately to Murphy Veneer in White City. As many as 20 to 25 truckloads will come through town per day.

Crews plan to begin burning brush piles above the Four Corners area near the eastern border of the watershed today and will continue throughout the week as weather permits.

Crews will be burning piles stacked on the slopes near Forest Service roads 2080 and 200, a release said.

There are no closures in that area, but heavy smoke could impair visibility on those roads and the Missing Links Trail, the release said.

The project's purpose is to thin trees from the area to decrease wildfire hazards to homes around Ashland. Project officials said they plan to do work on 7,600 acres over 10 years.

For more information, visit www.ashlandwatershed.org.