ReTree event is scheduled for June 11

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— The International Year of Forests is a global platform to celebrate people’s action to sustainably manage the world’s forests. The United Nations General Assembly declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests to raise awareness on sustainable management, conservation, and sustainable development of all types of forests.

To celebrate that awareness and conservation, the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council is pleased to announce Routt County’s second annual ReTree Steamboat event. Together with the Routt National Forest, the U.S. Forest Service, Steamboat Ski Area and the Bureau of Land Management, the Sustainability Council looks forward to carrying on the work initiated last year by Tristan Frolich and funded by a grant from SunChips and National Geographic.

In Colorado, the biggest threat facing our forests is the pine bark beetle epidemic. Beetle-killed trees are a risk for catastrophic wildfires, pose threats to homes and property, and could cause adverse economic impacts to our community. Much of our economy is dependent on tourism, which often revolves around the scenic beauty and recreational opportunities Steamboat has to offer.

Last June, nearly 400 volunteers participated in the inaugural ReTree event to plant a staggering 14,000 lodgepole pines and blue spruce at five locations throughout Routt County in just one day. Not only were thousands of trees planted, but volunteers also united to create change in their community and surrounding environment. The incredible success of the day inspired the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council to foster the continuation of the event on June 11 of this year.

The second ReTree event will take place at two deforested sites in Steamboat Springs — Mount Werner and Emerald Mountain. These sites are a high-priority because of their proximity to Steamboat, high visibility from town, heavy recreational use and community enthusiasm for their restoration. ReTree Steamboat plans to engage 300 volunteers of all ages to plant at least 4,000 trees this year. In addition to replanting and diversifying our beloved local forests, the event also will include its first bark beetle blue-stain products expo. The expo will provide education about beetle-kill products, include vendors specializing in blue-stain wood, logging and woodsman demonstrations, food vendors, and activities for the family.

Volunteers of all ages are needed to make the event a success. School, work, church and Scout groups are encouraged to participate. Online preregistration for volunteers is requested through http://yvsc.org. In addition, the Sustainability Council is raising funds to purchase trees for ReTree Steamboat. Donors can purchase trees for $2 each, also via the website.

As a last call to our community, the Sustainability Council is seeking sponsors to help offset costs associated with this important community event. As a sponsor of ReTree Steamboat, financial contributions will go toward trees, equipment, volunteer appreciation and event coordination. In return for sponsorship contribution, business will receive marketing opportunities and visibility at the event and in the community, as well as the satisfaction of supporting the Sustainability Council and its work to promote sustainability in the Yampa Valley.

For questions or information regarding volunteerism, sponsorship opportunities, or general ReTree information, email Kim Kline at kim@yvsc.org or call 970-846-9015.

Erica Olson works for the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council and is a former board member.

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