The Chelan County Natural Resource Department is moving ahead next month with a forest thinning project.

County commissioners awarded the project Monday morning to the lone bidder, Marcon Timber Company of Peshastin for roughly $152,000. The bid is higher than the county's estimated cost of $135,000-145,000.

The forest thinning will take place in the Squilchuck basin south of Wenatchee, near Squilchuck State Park and the Forest Ridge neighborhood.

Marcon Timber will be using special equipment on the project because of the complexity of the terrain involved.  A minimum150 horsepower chipper or excavator is required.

The contract calls for the reduction of hazardous fuels, and for forest health treatment across 76 acres.

Project work will begin on or after September 1.

The work includes thinning low-lying shrubs, vines and undergrowth using specialized machinery as well as hand crews and hand piling.

The goal is to improve the forest's ability to recover from fires, and to help wildlife be able to travel through the high-risk area.

Marcon Timber will have until and December 1 of 2023 to complete the project, with no work between March 1 and September 1.

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