Pass projects wrapping up for the year |

Pass projects wrapping up for the year

The Independence Pass Foundation is wrapping up its 2004 projects on the pass this month, capping off a summer of efforts ranging from major revegetation work to trail and recreation improvements.Today, the foundation will be doing hydroseeding near the top of the pass; minor traffic delays are possible. The foundation has traditionally sponsored planting projects on the pass by local schoolchildren. This year, students from both Aspen Country Day School and Aspen Middle School spent a day planting native trees and shrubs. A total of 53 children and 14 adults planted 90 trees and 200 plants in two locations, near the Independence ghost town and near the Highway 82 winter gate at Tagert Lake. The foundation also carried out a major composting and seeding operation at the “top cut” – the last stretch as the highway nears the top of the pass east of Aspen.The project involved placing mesh on the slope below the road to hold the compost in place, and spraying 2 to 4 inches of compost over a 26,000-square-foot area. The certified weed-free compost was impregnated with native grass seed with the expectation that the grass will germinate in the spring and establish a healthy stand of vegetation on the formerly barren slope. The project was carried out by ELC Services of Denver and the compost was supplied by A-1 Organics of Golden.In addition, compost was applied to the rocky slopes above the retaining wall the foundation built near mile marker 59. This project is intended to determine whether or not this process is a feasible means of establishing native vegetation on large areas of barren slope. Total cost of the treatment was about $38,000, funded by contributors to the foundation.In addition, six inmates from the Buena Vista Correctional Facility have been traveling to the pass four days a week since Aug. 30. They have planted about 750 seedling trees and reclaimed volunteer trails and other eroded areas at the ghost gown, the Linkins Lake trail and in the Weller campground area. Much of this work has been done in cooperation with the Aspen Ranger District of the White River National Forest.The foundation will continue its efforts until the first of November, unless inclement weather closes the pass earlier than that date.The foundation is a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization that has been sponsoring revegetation, reclamation and educational programs on Independence Pass since 1989.

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