ReTree Steamboat to return Saturday |

ReTree Steamboat to return Saturday

Nicole Inglis

Patti Rackstein and her grandson Colton Mays plant a lodgepole pine seedling at Steamboat Lake State Park at last year’s ReTree Colorado. Registration for this year’s event begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

Patti Rackstein and her grandson Colton Mays plant a lodgepole pine seedling at Steamboat Lake State Park at last year's ReTree Colorado. Registration for this year's event begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

— When the first ReTree Colorado event took place last summer, 300 volunteers left Steamboat a little greener than they had found it.

Using a $20,000 grant secured by local resident Tristan Frolich through the SunChips and National Geographic Green Effect contest, the volunteers planted 10,000 coniferous trees around the Steamboat area last June.

This year, the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council has picked up the event, calling it ReTree Steamboat, eager to continue what YVSC Coordinator Kim Kline sees as a community awareness opportunity.

"We want to keep Steamboat green, and it really goes along with our mission and vision for providing opportunities for community members to be a part of keeping Steamboat sustainable," Kline said.

The second annual event is Saturday morning, with planting beginning at about 9 a.m.

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Kline said about 100 volunteers have registered, and anyone interested can sign up through the week. Registration also will be open at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Howelsen Hill.

This year, volunteers are slated to plant 4,000 trees on Mount Werner and Emerald Mountain.

That's fewer than last year, and Kline said that's because YVSC took it upon itself to raise money for the event, which was funded in its first year by the one-time grant.

The trees are a little larger than last year, Kline said, and consist of fir and spruce saplings about 8 inches tall.

The trees were $2 each, so YVSC had to raise about $8,000 for the project, which came from sponsors including the city of Steamboat Springs, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. and Howelsen Emerald Mountain Park, among others.

Kline said revegetation is an important issue considering the mountain pine beetle epidemic. On Mount Werner, the loss of trees has led to erosion issues and mudslides.

But replanting thousands of trees is just a small part of taking action on the pine beetle epidemic. Some innovative locals are finding ways to use the dead wood in a productive, sustainable manner, and a new event during ReTree will address that issue.

Beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday at the base of Howelsen Hill, a ReTree Steamboat Expo will feature local vendors showcasing products made from beetle-killed wood, such as cabinets, art, furniture and kitchenware.

At the expo, there will be activities for children, a logging demonstration, barbecue from Steamboat Smokehouse and music from local rock band Tunes of Canafish.

"It's a good educational experience as well," Kline said about the event. "It's important to show people, yes, we are replanting the forest, but we have a long way to go with the beetle epidemic."

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email

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