COLUMN: Lake Christine to Grizzly Creek: Now for the future
There aren’t fields of ash any longer.
Nor, for that matter, have the trees grown waist high.
But Lake Christine, like every landscape after a wildfire passes through, recovers at its own pace, with its own rhythm, in its own time. The most – and the least – that we can do is to help when and where we can.
Beginning one summer after the 2018 Lake Christine Fire, Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers coordinated hundreds of volunteers to start the process of reseeding the baked earth. This summer, after creating pandemic protocols, RFOV has led numerous efforts to remove invasive species from the post-wildfire zone. Nonprofit and government partners each lend their expertise to Lake Christine’s gradual revitalization. Already, the positive impact of our action is noticeable. That is because we are not acting for the sake of action. We act because restoration work is essential. And we will continue our work at Lake Christine because the fire transformed the entire town of Basalt. Our commitment to ongoing, continual restoration of the landscape has proven to be healing not only for the land itself, but also for the town residents affected by the blaze. People make the place just as the place makes the people, and at RFOV, we make community with our own hands.
Now we are faced with another fire, and though it’s called the Grizzly Creek Fire, it has already raged across Glenwood Canyon into the surrounding mountains. Smaller fires have spread nearby. The scale of restoration required will dwarf the efforts at Lake Christine. We anticipate that successful restoration of Glenwood Canyon will require significant time and effort next year and likely for decades to come.
Fire brings change — change that arrives suddenly and without warning. Recovery is an entirely opposite process. Recovery is careful and clear. Recovery in Glenwood Canyon must be inclusive of our collective needs as a community. Remember, in the science of fire, all fires are alike, but in the art of community restoration, all restoration efforts are uniquely different.
Though it may seem counterintuitive to discuss restoration while the fire remains burning, the hard work of firefighting will soon be followed by the even more challenging task of mentally, emotionally, and physically renewing our community. Each member of our community can contribute to restoration efforts. Your support — regardless of age, ability, or background — will be vital. Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers is working actively with partners to include you in the recovery of Glenwood Canyon. More information will be announced soon. Together, we now share the opportunity to restore our region. We hope you will join us.
Ron Rash is executive director of Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers.
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