Glenwood nets 6,000 new plants
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Those yellow things sticking out of the ground around the RFTA Bus Barn and the Glenwood Springs Community Center aren’t a new kind of plant. They’re protective sheaths that volunteers placed around hundreds of plantings during last weekend’s Coal Seam planting project to keep wild creatures from nibbling at the rooting plants.According to Keith Desrosiers of Denver-based Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, the two-day planting and restoration project was the largest of its kind for Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, the organization’s local affiliate.Desrosiers said more than 400 volunteers worked on the project on Saturday, April 19, and about 200 participated on Sunday, April 20. Desrosiers estimated about half of all the volunteers came from out-of-town, and half came from the Glenwood Springs area.David Hamilton, RFOV’s executive director, also led volunteers on a project up Mitchell Creek to repair a trail damaged by last summer’s Coal Seam Fire. Hamilton said more than 400 local school students planted trees and shrubs this week.”It’s been fantastic,” said Hamilton. “This is a real example of citizen stewardship. Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers’ mission is to participate in projects that have a lasting value. We’ve really done that here.”There was another first, too. “This is the first time the city of Glenwood Springs, the VOC and Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers have partnered together, and the effort was very successful,” said Al Laurette, director of Glenwood Springs Parks Department.
Organizers said volunteers planted a whopping 6,000 seedlings, trees, bushes and shrubs around the Community Center, the bus barn, including 1,200 plantings on city-owned property up South Canyon.Hamilton explained why organizers chose to plant where they did. The $30,000 grant that organizers received from Colorado State Forest Service stipulated that restoration efforts must be done on city-owned property burned by the Coal Seam Fire, not necessarily in forested areas. Those areas included South Canyon and the former Wulfsohn Ranch property, where the Community Center and bus barn are located. Laurette and Hamilton studied the planting plan in relation to defensible space, which is the advised clear zone around buildings that prevents the spread of wildfire. Neither felt the plantings are close enough to the structures to pose a threat. City officials had to do a delicate dance when planning where the plantings would go. Laurette said because so many projects are proposed around the Community Center and bus barn, such as the pool, tennis courts, the Glenwood Meadows development, a golf course and possibly a detox center, planners skirted around areas that might be disturbed in the future. Laurette said they also had to consider who was doing the planting.”When I first looked at the area, I thought it would be great to do some planting up on Red Mountain,” he said, “but we had to consider these are weekend volunteers coming up to lend a hand. We didn’t want to subject them to dangerous, difficult terrain.”
Hamilton also said water availability was key in choosing where to plant. Plantings were done close to irrigation lines in town, and near the creek up South Canyon, and organizers used a glutinous mixture called dry water to keep plants moist as they take root.”Survivability rates were very important to us,” Hamilton said. “Instead of maybe a 60 percent rate, we might be looking at a 75 to 80 percent survivability rate by sticking close to water sources.”Laurette said the numbers of people participating in the restoration project made it a success. Businesses including Rocky Mountain Native Plant Co. of Rifle, A Cut Above Forestry of Wolcott and ABC Tree & Lawn Care of Rifle and Carbondale contributed to the effort.Laurette and Hamilton agreed that work has just begun to restore the Coal Seam area. Laurette said he’s been talking to Hamilton about organizing a bucket brigade day for plants needing additional watering. “This effort went very well,” Laurette said. “We’ll do more.”Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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