Logging resumes near Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad after 100 years

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Logging companies are working the Sierra National Forest, thinning out the trees near the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad according to the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau.

Loggers are working under permit from the US Forest Service to thin overgrown trees in the Sierra National Forest near the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad.

Loggers are working under permit from the US Forest Service to thin overgrown trees in the Sierra National Forest near the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad.

The sounds of train whistles have fallen silent at the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad now that the season has ended, and instead have been replaced with other sounds that haven’t been heard here in nearly a century.

Logging operations have commenced in the Sierra National Forest at the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad, the first time the forest in this area have been harvested since the Madera Sugar Pine Lumber Company ceased operations in in 1931. While the area has a rich logging history, the methods used today are far different than the clear-cutting operations of decades ago.

“Today it’s selective logging, where the US Forest Service timber crews come in and mark trees scientifically. They determine which trees need to be removed,” said Max Stauffer, owner of the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad.

“They leave the larger trees and the good seed trees so they can replenish the forest,” he said.

What many people don’t realize is the logging operations are also beneficial for the forest. The logging operations thin the forest allowing more sunlight in for healthier growth like fire used to before the region was settled. The logging also helps prevent larger, more dangerous fires.

“It prevents the catastrophic fires where the buildup over the years because of preventing forest fires actually creates a situation where you have more catastrophic fires because you have more fuels,” said Stauffer.

An added benefit is with the thicker undergrowth removed, guests can appreciate the forest even more.

“You can see the large trees, you get a better view of the mountains. Aesthetically, it’s much more pleasing,” said Stauffer.

Work will continue for a few weeks, depending on weather, before the crews move on to other areas.

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Jarrod Lyman
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