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Colorado: Skier donations build forest conservation legacy

National Forest Foundation awards $650,000 for stewardship work

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Ski area visitors leave behind a year-round stewardship legacy when they contribute to the Ski Conservation Fund. Bob Berwyn photo.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Thanks to voluntary contributions from ski resort visitors, the the U.S. Forest Service and the National Forest Foundation will partner to invest about $650,000 in forest restoration and recreation projects. The donations are collected in a voluntary add-on to ticket and lodging sales, a dollar or two at a time.

The grants were awarded recently to organizations like the Blue River Watershed Group, the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, the Colorado Mountain Club and the Colorado Natural Heritage Program for projects like trail improvements, wildlife habitat enhancement, tree planting and stream restoration. Continue reading

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Colorado forum focuses on collaborative land stewardship

Partnering on public lands

Collaboration is on the agenda at a March 23 stewardship forum in Grand Junction.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Struggling with funding shortfalls and increasing and competing demands on natural resources, public land managers are increasingly relying on collaboration with citizens and user groups to get the needed work done.

The drive toward collaboration, rather than confrontation, will manifest in western Colorado this week, as stewardship groups, volunteer coordinators and citizens gather Friday  in Grand Junction for the Western Slope Outdoor Stewardship Forum.

One of the panelists is Dave Neely, top man for the U.S. Forest Service Eagle/Holy Cross Ranger District, who firmly believes that engaging the public in stewardship of public lands is a big part of maintaining a sustainable economy in Eagle County.

“We need to connect people to the landscape, and we need healthy landscapes to support a sustainable economy … If you think about how people make a living here, so much is tied to the quality of our natural resources,” said Neely, who will be part of an early morning panel on community engagement at the Grand Junction forum. The full agenda is online here. Continue reading

Colorado: Aurora boosts Hayman Fire restoration efforts

A NASA satellite image shows the footprint of the 140,000-acre Hayman Fire.

New funding to help replant forests and riparian areas in critical watershed

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Restoration of lands scarred by the 2002 Hayman Fire took a big step forward last month, as Aurora Water committed $500,000 to help pay for replanting the area with 200,000 seedlings, as well as revegetating more than 13 miles of streamside riparian habitat with native willows, dogwoods, grasses and sedge.

Rehabilitating the landscape reduces erosion to protect water quality in the streams and rivers. Additional benefits include improved habitat for the endangered Montane Skipper Butterfly, revitalized gold-medal trout fisheries, and the enhancement or creation of 18 miles of recreational trails. Work in the Hayman area is on-going and involves a combination of volunteers, non-profits and contract employees, including the Mile High Youth Corps. Continue reading

Vail Resorts helps fund White River NF restoration work

Upper Homestake Creek targeted in early efforts

Forest restoration work in Eagle County will get a boost from Vail Resorts and the National Forest Foundation.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After tackling forest rehabilitation in the Hayman Burn area last year, Vail Resorts is contributing $200,000 this spring to help jumpstart a large-scale collaborative restoration and enhancement of national forest lands in the Vail and Eagle River valleys.

In partnership with the National Forest Foundation, work will begin along the Upper Homestake Creek area in the Upper Eagle River Valley.

“We will repair trails and bridges, rehabilitate campsites that are affecting conditions along the creek, improve fish habitat, cut hazard trees infested by mountain pine beetle, and plant trees in campgrounds to get a jumpstart on the future forest,” said Eagle District Ranger Dave Neely.

All of the work will be accomplished with support from partner organizations including the Eagle River Watershed Council, Student Conservation Association, Eagle County Youth Corps, with support from the foundation’s ski conservation fund and Vail Resorts’ Echo program. Continue reading

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