Public welcome on Coal Basin field trip |

Public welcome on Coal Basin field trip

ASPEN – The Aspen-Sopris Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service will hold a public field trip Thursday in Coal Basin to show current restoration efforts and future plans.

The tour will be from 9 to 10 a.m. Interested parties should gather at 8:45 beside the coke ovens at the entrance to Coal Basin, across Highway 82 from the south entrance to Redstone.

Reclamation of Coal Basin has been under way since coal-mining operations ceased there in the mid-1990s. The Forest Service and Coal Basin Cattlemen’s Association are teaming for the revegetation efforts on the old mine tailings by using cattle as a “tool” to improve soil condition and vegetation coverage, according to District Ranger Scott Snelson.

“Native grass seed will be spread within a 1-acre, fenced area and covered with straw and hay,” the Forest Service said in a statement. “Cattle will then graze the area intensely for a short duration of time to incorporate organic material and seed into the soil through the cattle’s hoof action. After treatment, the fence will remain in place to exclude livestock until new grasses become established.”

If the project is successful, the Forest Service will employ it over a larger area and other parts of the national forest requiring reclamation work.

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