Letter: Stepping up, taking ownership and giving back | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Stepping up, taking ownership and giving back

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of volunteering at the Crooked Creek wetland-restoration project organized by Wilderness Workshop, the Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers and the Roaring Fork Conservancy. About 30 volunteers made the lengthy trek to the work site about an hour outside Basalt up Eagle-Thomasville Road. There, we assisted the Forest Service on a project to restore a wetland destroyed in the development of a defunct commercial fishing retreat. The Forest Service now manages this parcel and is restoring it to its original state as a wetland.

It was amazing how efficiently (and with big smiles) the volunteers organized and committed to their respective tasks. Some were on shovel duty, removing cubes of sedge grass from abundant regions and passing them along to teams that cut the cubes into manageable bulbs. These were loaded into buckets and shuttled to other teams of people hunkered in the mud with trowels who dug holes and replanted the bulbs. These were set a foot or so apart. In time, the root structures will connect and the sedge grass will form the basis for a healthy wetland and refuge for birds, fish, amphibians and other wildlife. The Rockies are not known for their wetland habitat, but in fact these sporadic water-soaked oases are a key component of a healthy mountain ecosystem.

By the end of the multiyear project, four acres of wetland will be restored near Crooked Creek Pass, all thanks to ordinary people who gave their time to give back to the great outdoors. All the meals and tools were provided, so volunteers could just show up, work and socialize with other great people. It’s a wonderful program. There are more restoration projects scheduled for this summer as well as a free hike series offered by Wilderness Workshop. Learn more and sign up at http://www.wildernessworkshop.org/hikes.

Charlie Hopton

Wilderness Workshop board member


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