"Ben and his crew were terrific to work with - they recently did clearing, cutting and chipping on our overgrown 5 acre property to improve the health of the trees, control erosion, and for fire danger mitigation. Ben always arrived when stated, was a pleasure to work with, and worked incredibly hard for a fair price. And a big bonus - he is extremely knowledgeable about the trees and plants and has a great aesthetic sense. Our property looks beautiful!"
"One of the main attractions for me of this six and one half acre piece of land were the trees, exclusively pinon and juniper with a smattering of scub oak. I was excited by the hundreds of young pinons of 4 to 8 feet in height which must have sprung up in the aftermath of the pinebark beetle devastation some ten years earlier. There were many mature junipers and pinons that had survived the plague and dead fallen trunks and branches of those which had not. Somehow, though, the landscape was a kind of blur. Enter Ben with his offer to improve the area with a thinning of small trees (insuring the survival of some, too crowded together for all to do well.) Dead branches removed from mature trees allowed them to achieve a sculptural beauty (I’m especially grateful for the revelation of juniper trunks previously hidden by dead limbs) and, with regard to those that had been allowed to grow too close to the house, significant reduction of fire danger. Ben’s love for the trees and his innate sense of the beauty (often hidden) of the individual specimens was infectious. Thanks to his skill individual trees appeared for my pleasure and I continue to remember him when I see them standing out of what was once a bit of a blur. Ben encouraged my interest in trees, answered many questions about them, and for that I am truly grateful to him. His service to me, not just removing clutter but exposing beauty, was more than worth the price. I will continue to be grateful to him for what he has done for my trees as well as for my appreciation of them. -Bill Johnson, Bobcat Trail, Santa Fe"
"We live on the edge of the Santa Fe National Forest east of Santa Fe and are very concerned about the possibility of high severity wildfire burning our home. l feel certain that there will be a wildfire close to Santa Fe in the not too distant future. While I took the risk of building close to wild land, I understand that it is my responsibility to protect our home by lowering the risk of intense fire close to our house, on our property and to build with materials that will resist fire. Our property was thick with a mix of juniper, piñon, and ponderosa pine. The forest is excessively thick because of fire suppression and overgrazing over the last 120 years in our region. I wanted to restore the health of the forest on our acres and to protect our buildings from fire sweeping in from elsewhere.
We hired Ben and his crew to thin out the woods, remove most of the water demanding juniper and create a forest that will burn at low intensity. Ben and his very hard working crew transformed our thickets into a beautiful forest with well spaced trees and plenty of room for new grass and flower growth that will favor a variety of wildlife. Ben is very thoughtful about which trees he saves and which he culls and makes sure the result is a natural looking forest that will be good for birds. He obviously loves trees and is deeply committed to real forest health and long term forest restoration.
We were very pleased with Ben’s work and we have recommended him to others as well. He works very hard and gives you excellent value for your funds invested. Hiring him is one of the best things you can do, not only to safeguard your property but to help restore your forest land and set it on a path of health and resilience. - TR
Visit my blog: ViewfromtheRockies.com"
"I own a densely wooded property with a residence within the forest edge of the Tesuque/Chupadero foothills above Santa Fe and recently became aware that there would be a major need for fire risk mitigation there. After a few failed attempts at finding a crew that is truly qualified to help with that (some much prefer to work with celebrities, lol) I found Ben Van Kleeck and his team some of whom are experienced firefighter "hot shots," so they know what is at risk. I have a long family history at this location, but Ben and co. know more about our local forestry than I could ever have learned over the years. Rather than just clearing everything, they made informed decisions about which trees to keep and expertly handled the brush and needles around the residence. I strongly recommend Rio Responsible Forestry, whether you're within the deep forest like we are, or have any other larger-scale landscaping needs." -Hill
"A recommendation for anyone needing tree management. Rio Responsible Forestry LLC does a skillful job with projects of all sizes, from forests to estates to residential homes. Ben Van Kleeck is the owner, and I’ve used him several times, first to deliver firewood (which he does on the side), and then to save trees at my house that weren’t doing well. He normally works on a much larger scale, but was kind enough to diagnose and effectively remove tree limbs. He also removed an entire invasive tree that was growing on the fence line between 2 properties, by carefully extracting the tree, while saving the fence. I found him to be fast, knowledgeable, honest." - RD