300 cottonwoods to go into the ground at McDonough Flats Campground, at Green Mountain Reservoir
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Reforestation efforts in the high country aren’t focused exclusively on lodgepole pines these days. In one of the first big projects of the year, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado will coordinate the May 19 planting of 300 cottonwood trees at the McDonald Flats Campground in Heeney, 15 miles north of Silverthorne.
Cottonwoods are iconic trees in Colorado’s riverside zones. They’re an incredibly important part of the riparian ecology, providing habitat for cavity nesting birds like rare Lewis’ woodpeckers and stabilizing soils along rivers and lakes. Being adapted to growing near Colorado’s fast-flowing streams, new cottonwood trees can grow from a sprig or a branch that breaks off and gets stuck in some sand or riverside cobbles.
And they have recreational value, as well.
“The campground is a heavily used resource and will benefit greatly from the new trees, eventually offering more shade, screening, and privacy for campers,” said Sarah Slaton, program manager with Friends of the Dillon Ranger District.
The popular campground is located in the White River National Forest, and provides access for water sports, fishing, and boating on the Green Mountain Reservoir.
The weekend project is a collaboration between several partners including, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, Friends of the Dillon Ranger District, and the White River National Forest.
100 volunteers are needed to help plant the seedlings, which were grown at a Forest Service Nursery. In addition to rewarding volunteer work, registered volunteers can take advantage of free camping Friday night, as well as free light breakfast and lunch. The project is family-friendly and a unique opportunity for families to participate in and learn about outdoor stewardship together.
Volunteers are asked to register in advance to ensure adequate quantities of tools, supplies, and food. Register via the Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado website or call (303) 715-1010. No experience is necessary to volunteer. Funding support for this effort came from the National Forest Foundation.
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, forests, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news Tagged: | cottonwood trees, Green Mountain Reservoir, Summit County Colorado, tree-planting, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado