Crews cut trees at Sylvan Lake State Park near Eagle
Vail, CO Colorado
EAGLE, Colorado – The Western Colorado Conservation Corps recently completed a fuels mitigation project at Sylvan Lake State Park to help make the park safer for visitors. The 11-person crew from Grand Junction cut dead lodgepole pine trees adjacent to the lake trail.
Cutting the dead trees before they fall improves park safety and reduces the quantity of dead wood available to a wildfire.
Crew leader Dennis Quinn, an experienced sawyer, said it was a “fun” project. The crew often cuts tamarisk and Russian olive to restore native vegetation along rivers.
In comparison, Quinn said, “The lodgepole pine cut like butter.”
David Meline, manager at Sylvan Lake State Park, has worked with conservation corps trail crews before, but this was his first chainsaw project.
“Initially, I was a little leery about visitor perception and impact, but visitors took the project in stride. Overall, everything went well,” Meline said.
The work being done by the corps was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The U.S. Forest Service received $1.15 billion for forest project work nationwide and funneled a portion of the funding to states through a competitive grant process.
The mission of the corps is “to serve youth in a conservation-minded employment and educational experience.” The corps offers a variety of outdoor work experience and educational benefits to youth and young adults, ages 14-25, in western Colorado, and helps them build life skills. This summer, the corps is supporting six crews, with 20 young adults in each crew.
Colorado’s 42 state parks attract nearly 12 million visitors per year and encompass 225,099 land and water acres. Colorado State Parks also manage more than 4,100 campsites, and 57 cabins and yurts. For more information on Colorado State Parks or to purchase an annual pass online, visit http://www.colorado.gov/parks.