ReTree event shaping up in Steamboat
Locations, transportation in place for June 26 effort to plant trees
June 14, 2010
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Ideas are turning into realities for a June 26 effort to plant 14,000 trees across Routt County.
Tristan Frolich, organizer of the ReTree Colorado event intended to revitalize forest growth ravaged by the bark beetle epidemic, said the event now has a gathering place and five tree-planting locations. Volunteers will meet at 9 a.m. June 26 in the Meadows Parking Lot at Pine Grove and Mount Werner roads, next to the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs. Planting locations include the Seedhouse and Hinman Park campgrounds in North Routt County; Steamboat Lake State Park, also in North Routt; along the Spring Creek trail in Steamboat Springs, and at the base of Steamboat Ski Area on Mount Werner.
Frolich said free transportation will be provided to and from planting locations by Steamboat Springs Transit buses and loaned shuttles from Go Alpine and Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.
After planting from about 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Frolich said, volunteers can return to the Meadows lot for free food from Cugino's Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant. Either a local radio station at the site or a live band will provide music.
He said about 100 people have signed up for the event so far. About 250 are needed, Frolich estimated, in order to plant the full amount of trees. People signing up early would help organizers plan the event, he said.
"The biggest thing is if we can get people to pre-register," Frolich said. "We really have no idea how many people are going to show up."
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Online sign-up information is available at http://www.retreecolorado.com.
"We're asking everybody to bring shovels," he said.
The idea for the event began about a year ago, when Frolich entered the Green Effect contest, a collaboration between SunChips and National Geographic. The contest awarded grants to five recipients who created environmentally friendly projects that would affect their local communities. Frolich was one of those five and received a $20,000 grant for ReTree Colorado.
Frolich used much of the $20,000 to buy 12,000 trees from a Colorado State Forest Service nursery in Fort Collins. The U.S. Forest Service has donated 2,000 more, he said, for a total of 14,000 trees, primarily lodgepole pine and some Colorado blue spruce.
The project's original intent was to plant 20,000 trees. Frolich said last week that limitations on planting sites and the event's size have scaled that number back.
Frolich said the trees for planting June 26 are about 6 inches tall. Most are in pots. The campground sites are relatively flat and accessible for people of all ages, he said.
District forester John Twitchell has said the state forest service supports Frolich's effort to revive local forests with a new generation of trees.
"We'll get a lot of natural regeneration anyway, but this planting will give us a bump," Twitchell said in March.
The Rocky Mountain West has seen its forests devastated by the mountain pine beetle epidemic in recent years. Aerial research conducted in 2008 by the U.S. and Colorado forest services showed 245,000 affected acres in Routt County. Those are among the 1.9 million affected acres in Colorado.
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