Hunter Creek Valley restoration project needs volunteers | AspenTimes.com

Hunter Creek Valley restoration project needs volunteers

Staff report

The White River National Forest, Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, Wilderness Workshop, Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, Pitkin County and the city of Aspen are coordinating a weed pull in the Hunter Creek Valley on Saturday and are seeking community volunteers.

The weed pull is part of the Hunter-Smuggler Cooperative Plan, a 20-year collaborative stewardship plan that outlines improvements to forest health, wildlife habitat, recreation and education opportunities for 4,861 acres of federal land in Aspen’s wildland-urban interface. The weed pull will prepare the area for subsequent 2015 restoration projects, including a 30-plus-acre oakbrush mastication in the Hunter Creek Valley.

In the absence of fire in the Hunter Creek Valley, the oakbrush ecosystems (which include Gambel oak, chokecherry and serviceberry) are exceedingly overgrown and no longer produce quality forage or sufficient quantities of acorns for wildlife. Given this, the Hunter-Smuggler Implementation Team is planning 30-plus acres of oak mastication for the fall in an ongoing effort to restore this ecosystem.

Weed control is critical when undertaking disturbance-based restoration. In order to allow native plants to flourish following treatment, noxious weeds need to be removed prior to treatment so that they don’t spread to treated areas. To accomplish this, volunteers will manually pull thistles and other noxious weeds in the Hunter Creek Valley from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Tools and instruction will be provided as well as coffee and pastries to start the day and a thank-you meal following the work. Carpooling is encouraged and volunteers may park at the upper Hunter Creek gate. Participants should bring a lunch, water, layers and work gloves if possible. This is a family-friendly volunteer project.

To volunteer at the weed pull, please visit Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers at http://www.rfov.org.


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