Perched among the granite outcrops and presidents of Mount Rushmore, Bandit’s new Model 1890 Track self-propelled drum chipper is working to spruce up the national monument while protecting the surrounding forests of the southern Black Hills in South Dakota. Compact in size and highly maneuverable, the 1890 Track is well suited to the thinning operation occurring within the national park.
“Projects like this are exactly what we had in mind when we decided to build a self-propelled version of our 1890,” said Jason Morey, marketing manager for Bandit Industries. “It’s small enough to go pretty much anywhere, and it’s strong enough to chip a surprising amount of wood for its size.”
The extent of the 1890 Track’s versatility is being put to the test in South Dakota, where its ability to scale tricky terrain and climb mountains is assisting the National Park Service in thinning the woods around Mount Rushmore. The three-month project is designed to make the park and surrounding forests more resistant to fire by removing younger trees less than 10 inches in diameter. The measure will also serve to slow the pine beetle infestation that has affected the area. To preserve the integrity of the forest and area wildlife, tight restrictions are in place to ensure the project only removes what is necessary.
“It’s not logging or clear cutting,” said Mike Johnson, the park service regional fire information officer. “It’s thinning out some of the stuff that would’ve burned in a natural forest cycle.”
The goal of the project is to develop a diverse ecosystem similar to what existed in the area approximately 100 years ago. As material is processed, the chips are spread back over the forest floor to keep nutrients in the park.
Headquartered in Remus, Mich., Bandit Industries is a leading manufacturer of equipment for the logging, tree service, biomass and wood waste recycling industries. Bandit offers a complete line of hand-fed chippers, stump grinders, whole tree chippers, and horizontal grinders.