Every year since 2010, the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council has partnered with the Colorado State Forest Service to reforest sections of Routt County for the ReTree Steamboat event by planting thousands of sapling trees in areas that have been recently cleared of beetle-killed trees.
In recent years, additional days of planting have been added to the event. In addition to the main event June 9 at Steamboat Ski Area, the team this year has chosen Stagecoach State Park to receive 60 larger trees to provide protective cover for recreational users, provide bird habitat and create a solid root system to help prevent erosion.
On May 22, native trees — including blue spruce, ponderosa pine and Rocky Mountain juniper — will be planted primarily around campground areas to help block wind and provide shade in spring and summer for those who visit the park.
Until the trees are grown, monitoring and regular care is planned, and seasonal park staff as well as recreational users will provide watering. In addition to watering buckets and signage, half of these trees will receive a slow-watering system that captures rainwater and releases it slowly into the roots.
The 2-year-old seedling trees will need watering throughout the first season after planting and perhaps beyond. There also will be a need for protection of the seedlings against porcupines, so park officials will provide materials to establish porcupine barriers and protect the viability of the seedlings. If the seedlings reach a 60 percent survival rate, the ReTree group later would return to plant more native trees.
Volunteers are needed to help dig holes, plant trees, mulch trees and set up the watering devices from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 22. Volunteers should bring closed-toed shoes, comfortable clothes, a water bottle and sunscreen. Snacks and water will be provided. Volunteers should meet at the Stagecoach State Park office at 8:30 a.m. Those who are interested in carpooling can contact Sustainability Council Executive Director Sarah Jones at email@example.com or 303-338-6981. The parking fee will be waived. Register for the Stagecoach planting by contacting Jones.
Volunteers also are needed for the main ReTree event on June 9 at Steamboat Ski Area, where hundreds of volunteers and master gardeners will help plant 1,000 trees. For more information or to register for the June 9 planting, visit www.yvsc.org/retree.
Volunteers from both events are invited to the June 9 ReTree barbecue at the base of the ski area.
Andy Kennedy is the program director for the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council.