Northwest Gateway Forest Restoration

Manzanita Lake area forest comparison (1925 vs. 1993)
Human suppression of wildfire has led to overly dense conditions in the Manzanita Lake and Lost Creek areas, known as Northwest Gateway. This photo series highlights the change in forest conditions in the absence of fire.

Alan Taylor

Human suppression of wildfire has resulted in overly dense conditions; loss of old-growth trees and wildlife habitat; and increased risk of severe wildfire in the Manzanita Lake and Lost Creek areas. These combined areas are known as the Northwest Gateway, which contains numerous facilities and other infrastructure along the park highway. The Northwest Gateway project uses a two-step process to reduce forest density through one-time use of mechanized equipment and then apply prescribed fire to restored forests 3 to 5 years after mechanical treatment.

Restoration Goals

The overall goal of this treatment strategy is to re-establish a fire adapted forest landscape by restoring a more resilient, diverse forest structure. Specifically, the treatment will maintain a multi-aged forest with significant old-growth elements, promote a more varied stand structure and stand species diversity, and restore and protect wildlife habitat.

A graphic with three photos of a forest before and after different fire management treatments.
Before and after photos from Northwest Gateway Project Unit 4. The treatment area is one of 22 units within developed sections of Manzanita and Lost Creek areas.

Project Accomplishments and Next Steps

Mechanical treatment in 2014 successfully restored natural fuel loads to areas closest to the Manzanita Lake Area (units 1-7).

Prescribed fire application in October 2018 reintroduced fire to unit 4 (shown as burn area C below). Firefighters applied low-intensity fire to help maintain the conditions restored through mechanical treatment in 2014. The reintroduction of fire to manually treated areas has been delayed largely due to dry conditions and resulting longer fire seasons, which limit the window for prescribed burn application.

Mechanical treatment planned for fall 2022. A contractor will complete mechanical treatment on 124 acres near Lost Creek Group Campground and Volcano Adventure Camp (units 12, 13, 18). This work includes removing live understory and ladder fuels identified by a prescription for each unit. The contractor will rehabilitate all work areas once fuel removal is complete.

Prescribed fire application planned for fall 2022. Firefighters will apply prescribed (Rx) fire to 225 acres near Manzanita Lake as conditions permit. The burn units include mechanical treatment units 5-7 (completed in 2014). Burn units are identified by letters, vary slightly from the mechanical treatment units, and have their own Rx prescription. Burn units within Northwest Gateway that are planned for this fall are unit G (92 acres) and F (133 acres).

Completion of prescribed fire application fall 2022. Fire Management personnel burned Unit G (92 acres/37 hectares) on October 31 and Nov 1, 2022.

Prescribed fire application planned for spring 2023. Planning to burn Unit F in May or June of 2023.

Mechanical treatment planned for 2023. Mechanical thinning operations began in Unit 12 in October, 2022. By June of 2023, thinning operations will be complete in Units 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, and 18. Fire Management staff plan to initiate prescribed fire in these units in the fall of 2025. Mechanical thinning of Units 8, 9, 10, and 11 is planned to begin in the fall of 2023.

A map of colored shapes indicating areas for mechanical treatment.
The NWG Project includes mechanical treatment in 22 units. Mechanical treatment is planned in units 12, 13, 18 in fall 2022. Firefighters apply prescribed fire 3-5 years after mechanical fuel removal; see prescribed treatment map below.
A map of areas outlined in red indicating prescribed burn treatment units.
Prescribed burn units in Phase 1 of the NWG Project (identified in red) mostly overlap mechanical treatment shown on the map above. Prescribed burning is planned for fall 2022 in unit G and F.

NWG Project Q&As


Northwest Gateway Project News

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    Last updated: March 6, 2023

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