Community News

News Release: Forest Thinning continues near Williams and Parks

November 22, 2021

Williams, Az, November 19, 2021 — This fall and winter, the Kaibab National Forest Williams Ranger District is implementing multiple mechanical thinning projects around Williams and Parks. These treatments target dense forests to help restore historic, healthier conditions and reduce the risk of uncharacteristically severe fire.

Closures for thinning operations are rare, but necessary on occasion for public and crew safety during active logging. Currently, a temporary closure is in place for the Bill Williams Mountain Restoration Project.  Another short-term closure for the Clover Project is expected this winter. Details will be shared when they become available.

“Our priority projects are strategically located around communities and key watersheds – areas where resilient forests, defensible space, and reduced risk of catastrophic fire are most critical,” says Debra Mollet, Williams and Tusayan District Ranger. “This means folks can easily see the great work taking place to restore this special landscape.  It also means some short-term public impacts are to be expected. We’ll work hard to minimize those as much as possible while we continue to provide the forest with the crucial treatments it needs.”

Residents and visitors can expect to see paint markings on trees, active cutting, woodchippers and grinders, log decks, slash piles, and materials being hauled away. In the case of the Bill Williams Mountain Restoration Project, those in the Williams area can see and hear helicopters removing material from the steep slopes.  

The following list identifies current and upcoming mechanical thinning projects on the Williams Ranger District. 

Bill Williams Mountain Restoration Project – a unique partnership between the Kaibab NF, Coconino County, and the National Forest Foundation to conduct restoration and fuels reduction treatments on the slopes above the City of Williams. The second unit of steep slope thinning is currently underway and is on track to be complete before the end of the calendar year.  Helicopters removing material from the steep slopes can be seen and heard from the Williams area. Initial planning for Steep Slope 3 has begun with aims for implementation next fall. A temporary closure is in place for Steep Slope 2 operations.
Clover – located south of the Williams Ranger Station at the northern base of Bill Williams Mountain. Completion estimated for February.  A 1 to 2-week closure is expected this winter. Details will be announced when they become available. 
Pup – located south of the Clover project on the northern base of Bill Williams Mountain. Thinning began early November. The entire project is anticipated to be complete by the end of December, conditions permitting.

Cougar Park – located at the southern base of Bill Williams Mountain. Currently inactive. Contractors anticipate moving to Cougar Park after the Pup Project is complete.

McCracken – located at the southeastern base of Bill Williams Mountain. Crews have been conducting road work and cleaning-up landing sites from earlier operations. Currently inactive.
Junction – located just east of Williams, south of I-40 and Old Rt 66 near Bearizona. Currently inactive. Operators anticipate moving to Junction after Cougar Park.

Beacon Boxcar – located just south of I-40 near Sherwood Forest. Currently inactive.
Isham Springs – located south of Sherwood Forest off Garland Prairie Road. Currently inactive.
Parks West – located north of I-40 and west of Parks at Pitman Valley. The entire project is expected to be complete by the end of this month/early December. 

Saddle – located on the east side of Parks, between Old Rt 66 and Government Prairie.  The project is wrapping up and should be fully complete within the week.

Upcoming: Fortyniner West located east of Parks. Contract is out for bid with potential award this winter. Implementation details would be determined after contract is awarded.

Upcoming: Government Prairie and Klostermeyer – located north and northeast of Parks. Both contracts are expected to be offered for bid in early Spring. Implementation details would be determined after contract is awarded.
The accompanying map shows the above projects as well as areas tentatively planned for treatment in the next five years.