Two Lakes Fuels Reduction Project on the Tonasket Ranger District, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forests, was the first planning completed on the Forest under the Healthy Forest Restoration Act. Two Lakes is located in the vicinity of Lost and Bonaparte Lakes, about 18 miles east of Tonasket, WA. Adjacent to a Roadless Area, it is a heavily used recreation area featuring: two major lakes, two campgrounds, three organization camps, a group of summer residences, a resort located on Washington State land, and three housing developments on private land. Interagency and community involvement was key to the progress of this project. Special use permit holders, community members and interest groups actively collaborated in the development of the Two Lakes Project. Following no objections, the project is now being implemented.

Two Lakes fuels reduction

The project will reduce hazardous fuels in the wildland urban interface around Lost and Bonaparte Lakes. The forest consists of large dry ponderosa pines, western larch and Douglas-fir with many small trees encroaching. These small, overcrowded trees are competing for nutrients, water and sunlight, weakening them and making the trees more susceptible to insects or disease. The dense forests are a significant fire hazard, threatening the general area, and the larger trees.

The fuels treatments in Two Lakes are intended to provide additional defensible spaces around the recreation and residential areas as identified in the 2004 Havillah Community Wildfire Protection Plan. Treatment includes approximately 2,500 acres of commercially thinned trees, producing 7.94 million board feet of timber; 3,600 acres of ladder fuels treatment and thinning, and approximately 3,600 acres of treatment using prescribed fire.

“This collaborative project has helped restore healthy ecosystem functions while reducing the threat from wildland fire and building upon positive interactions with community members,” said District Ranger Mark Morris. Forest Service interpreters are working closely with the Tonasket Kiwanis Club to develop an interpretive sign near their youth camp, Camp Tokawani, explaining the Two Lakes project. In addition, showing their appreciation, the Boy Scouts camp on Bonaparte Lake recently sent a “thank you” letter to the Forest Supervisor stating their gratitude for the wildfire risk reduction, and for the collaborative process used.

For more information, contact Mark Morris, Tonasket District Ranger, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, at msmorris@fs.fed.us or (509)486-5110.