Summit County volunteers to plant 1,800 trees in honor of loved ones |

Summit County volunteers to plant 1,800 trees in honor of loved ones

About 270 Summit Middle School eighth-graders visited the Breckenridge solar garden near the Wellington neighborhood on Wednesday, May 20. The field trip was a part of the Energy Explorers school program taught locally by High Country Conservation Center and sponsored by Vail Resorts and Copper Mountain Resort.
Alli Langley / |

This summer, 10,000 young trees will thrive in Summit County in honor or in memory of loved ones.

Roughly 120 volunteers will participate in the 6th annual Bristlecone Foundation Legacy Forest Campaign on Saturday, May 30, when they plant aspen, bristlecone pine, Ponderosa pine, Colorado blue spruce and Engelmann spruce.

The event kicks off Friday, May 29, at 6 p.m. with “An Evening of Laughter” at the Frisco Day Lodge. Standup comedian and veterinarian Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald will perform as well as local musician Randall McKinnon, and a silent auction will feature items including gift certificates for local restaurants, golf courses and dental services.

Bristlecone Foundation development officer Åsa Armstrong said the event has already sold out.

Then on Saturday, volunteers will meet between 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m., eat breakfast burritos provides by Whole Foods Market and spend the morning planting 1,800 seedlings in Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco and Silverthorne.

Donations of $20 will plant a tree in honor of a loved one, and donors can designate where the tree will be planted and then watch it grow. Volunteers aren’t required to donate, and donors aren’t required to volunteer.

“It’s a great introduction to volunteering,” Armstrong said, especially for families with children who can run around outside.

Donations support home healthcare and hospice services for uninsured and underinsured people through Bristlecone Health Services, the only provider of that care in Summit County.

“It really gives us the opportunity to not have to turn anybody away,” said Rob Dewing. He added that 53 percent of donations provides care for children, 13 percent goes to adults and 33 percent goes to seniors.

The Legacy Forest Campaign has supported more than 450 patient visits in its first five years.

To purchase a seedling, visit or call (970) 668-8444 to donate by phone. To volunteer as an individual or group at one of the planting sites, contact Åsa Armstrong at or (970) 668-8444.

DNA analysis confirms gray wolf killed in Grand County

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory has confirmed that an animal killed near Kremmling on April 29 was, indeed, a gray wolf.

The animal was shot by a legal coyote hunter, who immediately notified Colorado Parks and Wildlife, which then notified the federal agency. The gray wolf is protected by both the federal government and the state of Colorado as an endangered species.

Colorado is part of the gray wolf’s native range, but wolves were eradicated from the state by the mid-1930s. Over the past decade, the Fish and Wildlife Service has restored gray wolves into Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico and Arizona, and some believe it is only a matter of time before wolves migrate into Colorado from the north and south, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

According to the Colorado Mule Deer Association, the hunter who shot the wolf immediately called the CPW office in Hot Sulphur Springs to report the incident.

A district wildlife manager responded to the scene and then brought the carcass in for inspection by other agency personnel and a biologist from Alaska, who was, coincidentally, attending the 49th North American Moose Conference and Workshop in Kremmling.

The animal appeared to be a wild, male gray wolf, weighing about 90 pounds, and it did not have a collar, ear tag or PIT tag.

The name of the hunter, who may be prosecuted, has not been released.

Last year, a gray wolf from near Cody, Wyoming, made what became a nationally-celebrated, 750-mile journey to the Grand Canyon. Then in February, a licensed coyote hunter near Beaver, Utah, shot and killed the wolf, which had been named Echo in a national contest in public schools.

Another wolf was found in Colorado in 2009, killed in Rio Blaco County by a banned poison. That wolf traveled more than 1,000 miles from Montana’s Mill Creek pack.

Summit County eighth-graders visit Breckenridge solar garden

For the first time, High Country Conservation Center’s Energy Explorers program brought nearly 300 Summit Middle School students to learn in-person about how a community solar garden works locally.

The program, funded by Vail Resorts EpicPromise and Copper Mountain Resort, brings HC3 employees into Summit’s fourth-, eight- and ninth-grade classrooms to learn about renewable energy and energy conservation.

On Wednesday, May 20, the eighth-graders loaded onto four buses and drove to the Wellington neighborhood in Breckenridge. There, they walked through the solar garden and heard from its builders and the town’s finance director and about how the panels came to be and how they work logistically and financially.

Students learned that the 2,000-panel array powers about 75 homes, and locals who own panels can sell them if they move. Most people spend between $1,000 and $4,000 to offset part of their utility bills and go six to seven years before they recoup the upfront cost and see energy savings.

Both the Wellington array and the array north of Breckenridge next to the Breckenridge Building Center were worth about $3.5 million when they were constructed by Clean Energy Collective in 2013.

High Country Conservation Center offers free home energy audits

Owners of deed-restricted homes that are at least five years old are eligible for free home energy audits through a partnership between High Country Conservation Center and the Summit Housing Authority.

The first two from each neighborhood that sign up will receive the audits, which will start in June.

The energy audits include walk-through testing to find air leaks and recommended home safety and energy efficiency improvements. After the audit, HC3 will help homeowners implement projects that fit in their budgets.

HC3 will help find qualified contractors, secure rebates and incentives, apply for loans and other financing, and track savings.

To sign up, call HC3 at 970-668-5703.

Celebrate National Trails Day on June 6

Colorado Parks and Wildlife encourages outdoor enthusiasts and recreationists to celebrate National Trails Day on Saturday, June 6, on Colorado trails.

Started by the American Hiking Society, National Trails Day is now in its 23rd year and is the largest annual trails celebration.

Officials encourage people to experience the unique panorama of Colorado while horseback riding, hiking, biking or off-highway vehicle riding on more than 30,000 miles of trails throughout the state. Accept the challenge to explore a nearby trail, learn a new outdoor skills, or support the volunteer efforts of trail organizations with friends and family.

“There are lots of opportunities to get from urban, settled areas into more remote, rural areas on trails,” said Tom Morrissey, CPW’s state trails manager.

The latest state recreation plan determined that Coloradans spent 250 million activity days, or almost 50 days per person, on a Colorado trail.

For more information on trails in Colorado or the trails program go to or visit

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