Wilderness Ranch
Common Area
WROA Common Area Committee
email contact:  commonarea@wildernessranch.net
Blaine Smith (Board Liaison)
The Committee's mission is to maintain the health of our forested Common Area in order to control the spread of wildfire and prevent extensive loss due to insects and disease, sustain the natural beauty of our forest and support habitat for our wildlife, and protect the value of our homes by having a forested, not burnt, Common Area.
Tree Cutting Policy
Ranch residents may cut trees in the Common Area only after permission has been granted by the Common Area Committee. If you wish to cut trees (standing dead or live), please email the Common Area Committee to make an appointment to walk through the area from which trees will be removed and to sign a waiver. That committee member will verify that the area where tree removal is to be done is indeed Common Area and not private property.
The cutting of live trees is restricted to certain times of the year (typically August through April) to prevent the spread of beetles, and all slash from live trees must be removed from the Common Area and disposed of properly.
Click here to view the Protecting Trees From Bark Beetles presentation given on January 27, 2021
Ongoing Projects
Hazardous Fuels Mitigation
The Wilderness Area Common Area Committee is currently in the midst of the third phase of a three-phase plan to reduce the risk of damage from wildfire on the Ranch. A fire mitigation and management plan was developed and approved by the WR Board of Directors in 2002. This plan contains reasonable fuel reduction measures that will reduce the risk of wildfire spread and allow for ground-based firefighting equipment to safely suppress wildfires under normal fire weather conditions. It is not intended, nor should it be assumed any such plan will work under extreme fire weather conditions. While the main goal of this plan is to reduce the spread of wildfire, the thinning effort is also an attempt to prevent extensive loss due to insects or disease.
Phase One of the plan was completed in 2003. The main objective of this phase was to thin along the roadways adjacent to our Common Area to facilitate escape should there be a fire on the Ranch. Wilderness Ranch received a Wildland Urban Interface grant from Idaho Department of Lands to assist with the costs associated with this part of the project. It was a success by all measures. As stipulated by the grant, we re-treated the brush that has grown back in some of those areas in 2009.
Phase Two of the plan was completed in 2006. The area treated was located below the "Middle Road" that runs through the unplatted Common Area south of Rush Creek road. That area has been logged at least once in the past. There were approximately 19 acres that required treatment, and a local contractor was hired to commercially thin the area. The committee made a minor profit from this project for the Ranch. However, most of the income went to slash cleanup and to refurbish the middle road after the project was completed.
Phase Three involves approximately 259 acres of an unlogged portion of the Common Area located in the southwest portion of Rush Creek. Because several decades have passed since a fire has burned in the forest at Wilderness Ranch, there is now a dangerous combination of an overstocked stand, ladder fuels, beetle-infested trees, and a lot of dead and down material that make this steeply sloped area susceptible to a high-intensity, stand replacing fire that could put every home on the Ranch at risk. Treatment of this area will improve the stand vigor, improve healthy tree growth and species diversity, and make the stand less susceptible to insect and wildfire damage.
The trees that will be removed have been marked by our forestry consultants from Tartar, Stockton, and Petzak (TSP). They carefully selected trees based on our desire to minimize the intensity of a possible fire and improve the forest's health, not necessarily which trees would fare best at market.
In order for the project to move forward, two things are needed: 1) a nearby mill that is willing to purchase our timber and 2) a logger that has equipment with sufficiently long lines to skid cut timber up the long, steep slopes that are part of our Common Area's topography. Since the inception of this phase of the project in 2006, those two operative pieces have not been available to us.
When fuel prices increased and timber prices bottomed out during the recession, many local mills went out of business. Some of the mills are starting to make a comeback, and our forestry consultants have diligently pursued them to guage their interest in purchasing our timber. In September of 2017, a reprentative from a mill in Emmett, Idaho, toured the Common Area with our forestry consultants and met with committee members. This mill has expressed an interest in purchasing our timber; however, to date the mill operator has not been able to find a logger with long line equipment who is available to carry out the project.
There are currently 3 loggers in the state who have long line skidders. Recent fires in Idaho's forests have kept those loggers busy. Quite often, those loggers will not return calls to mill operators until they have completed their logging operations for the season. 
The Common Area Committee members do not take this endeavor lightly, and none of us expected it to take so much time to complete the project. However, we remain committed to being the stewards of this project. We are seeking to make the best decisions about reducing the fuel load while maintaining the aesthetics of a healthy forest. It has always been our goal make enough money to cover the project in its entirety, including slash cleanup, roadway refurbishing from the selected contractor's activities, and covering TSP's expenses. It would be ideal if we could make a profit for WROA so funds could be available to continue mitigating fuels along roadways, but making money is not the objective of this project.
Noxious Weed Control
Your Common Area Committee can assist you with solutions to eradicate noxious weeds on your property.
Click here for information about managing rush skeletonweed.
Click here for information about managing dwarf mistletoe.
Have questions about this committee or its projects? Are you interested in helping with Committee activities and projects? Please contact the a member of the Common Area Committee.