Volunteers sought for Aspen-area habitat project | AspenTimes.com

Volunteers sought for Aspen-area habitat project

Staff report

Local conservation group Wilderness Workshop is seeking volunteers for its 2013 slate of habitat-restoration projects. This year’s work will focus on the Castle Creek and Maroon Creek valleys near Aspen.

Now in its third year, the program lets volunteers improve and reconnect wildlife habitat in some of the region’s most scenic locations.

“These projects are really the ideal way to get involved in our work in a hands-on way,” said the organization’s conservation advocate, Will Roush, in a prepared statement. “You get to be out in a beautiful place, learn about how ecosystems work, have some fun, get some exercise, and at the end of the day, you’ve got the satisfaction of having helped the land.”

The project schedule is as follows:

• June 22, Ashcroft — Removal of old ranching barbed-wire fencing in the upper Castle Creek Valley to allow wildlife to move freely.

• Aug. 3, East Maroon Creek — A reroute of the East Maroon Trail to avoid a wetland that is habitat for boreal toads.

• Sept. 7 and 8, West Maroon Creek — In this two-day outing, volunteers will restore old user-created campsites above Crater Lake in areas where camping is not permitted (within 100 feet of lakes and streams) to protect water quality and improve important riparian habitat. Participants will camp overnight above Crater Lake.

• Sept. 21, West Maroon Creek — Completion of the Sept. 7 and 8 project.

Projects run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and are followed by a free barbecue. Wilderness Workshop, in partnership with the Forest Service, supplies all tools and training and organizes car pooling or bus transportation to the trailheads. Go to http://www.wildernessworkshop.org/ restoration for more information and to register for projects.