Volunteers to plant 3,000 trees Saturday in Silverthorne
SILVERTHORNE – Together with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, the Friends of the Dillon Ranger District kicks off its summer volunteer season with an effort to plant 3,000 trees at the Blue River Campground Saturday in the Pine Beetle Restoration Project.About 150 volunteers are set to gather at the campground north of Silverthorne at 8:30 a.m. and work from 9 a.m. until about 3 p.m., with an included lunch. Friends of the Dillon Ranger District program coordinator Sarah Slaton said the volunteer number can grow, as new registrations can come in as late as the morning of the event. Blue River Campground was one of many Summit County campgrounds closed following logging of dead trees destroyed by the mountain pine beetle. “Young lodgepole and, in many areas, aspen have already started to (regenerate naturally),” said Ken Waugh, Dillon Ranger District recreation staff officer. “Re-establishing a forest in and around developed campgrounds is especially important because trees provide screening and shade, which are essential to provide the natural setting that campers desire.”Forest Service officials have flagged sites for planting, Dillon Ranger District forester Sarah Pearson said. After leaders review tree hazard training, dole out hardhats and tools, and allow crew leaders to demonstrate proper planting techniques and ways to protect the seedlings to help them survive, teams of two will get to work planting what could amount to about 40 trees per pair. “This is our contribution to the Legacy Forest campaign with Bristlecone Foundation,” Slaton said, adding that foundation’s official tree planting event is on June 4 – another volunteer opportunity.
The four-agency partnership is significant for Friends of the Dillon Ranger District, and is a win-win for everyone involved, organization director Jessica Evett said. Her group helps with volunteer leadership and is the liaison with the Forest Service and Bristlecone Foundation. Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado has a broader volunteer base to draw from to make project efforts happen. “It’s good for us because these are larger-scale projects than we would typically be able to do,” Evett said. Saturday’s trees make up some of the approximately 44,000 trees to be planted in the Dillon Ranger District – about 40,000 are designated for areas around Dillon Reservoir. Another 48,000 are planned for other areas of the White River National Forest, Pearson said. With logging efforts in the area to mitigate effects of pine-beetle affected lodgepole pine in recreation areas, Pearson ordered the trees from the Forest Service tree nursery, knowing there would be places for them to grow. It’s but a dent in the nearly 100,000 trees that fall each day across the Colorado-Wyoming-Nebraska beetle-affected area in this forest system region, Pearson said, but it’s something. She added that reforesting areas suffering natural decimation isn’t necessary, but law requires logged areas to see regeneration efforts within five years of cutting. Saturday’s event is a youth- and family-focused event (for children 8 and older), Slaton said, a highlight of which is free camping for participants at the campground. Normally, the campground requires fees for use. “A lot of people have questions about how they can help combat the (pine beetle) issue,” Slaton said. “Really, we can’t, but this is one way to help.” Register through the Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado’s website at http://www.voc.org or call (303) 715-1010.
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