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Environmental organizations planning tree-planting

Brian Smith
Members of the Colorado Environmental Coalition, The Wilderness Society, staff of SmartWool of Steamboat Springs and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gather during a tree-planting project in March in Browns Park. Volunteers planted 57 trees to help restore cottonwood forests in the area. The CEC will host a similar project on Oct. 22 and 23.
Courtesy Photo
Members of the Colorado Environmental Coalition, The Wilderness Society, staff of SmartWool of Steamboat Springs and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gather during a tree-planting project in March in Browns Park. Volunteers planted 57 trees to help restore cottonwood forests in the area. The CEC will host a similar project on Oct. 22 and 23.

Sasha Nelson, northwest organizer for the Colorado Environmental Coalition, said there is no feeling better than planting a tree.

Nelson, along with other members of the CEC, The Wilderness Society and the Friends of Northwest Colorado, will work to plant several trees in Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge on Oct. 22 and 23.

The project is in its third year being hosted by the CEC, Nelson said.



The project aims to restore cottonwood forests along the Green River in Browns Park.

Residents are welcome to participate in the project including families and residents of all ages, she said.

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Nelson said the Green River no longer has a natural hydrograph because the river is dammed.

Cottonwood trees only regenerate when they have a natural flood cycle, Nelson said. The cottonwood forests in Browns Park are mostly unable to regenerate on their own, she said.

“There are thousands of seedlings that we need to plant, and we can only get out there and plant twice a year,” Nelson said. “If we are going to restore the forest it is up to us really.”

The CEC hosted a similar tree-planting project in March, in which 57 trees were planted. Of the 57 trees planted, 56 took root and survived the summer, which Nelson said was a “phenomenal success rate.”

But, the CEC’s project doesn’t stop when roots hit the dirt, Nelson said. Participants can also dedicate a tree to themselves or a family member, which will then go into a GPS plotting system, she said.

“All of the holes where we have planted a tree are plotted on a GPS map and eventually we are going to have that online so you can go to Google Earth and track your tree,” she said.

Each time the CEC plants trees, it hopes the next project will be “bigger and better,” Nelson said. In a few weeks, the organization hopes to plant 60 trees, but that number depends on the number of people who sign up for the project, Nelson said.

The project will also double as an eco-tourism event of sorts as the CEC will be on hand to talk about the natural history of Browns Park and the area’s wildlife, Nelson said.

“It is a great opportunity to see wildlife with a knowledgeable guide,” she said.

The CEC also has several prizes to give away during the trip, Nelson said.

Although the project is free to those interested in helping, the organization is welcoming donations for a Friends of Northwest Colorado college scholarship fund for a high school student, she said.

Residents can participate in one or both days of the project, Nelson said. The CEC can also help arrange overnight camping options for those interested in helping both days.

The project is free to participate in but residents must RSVP with the CEC by calling 824-5241.

The CEC is offering a carpool service each day departing from Craig at 9 a.m. at the Craig Chamber of Commerce, 360 E. Victory Way.

There will also be a carpool from Steamboat Springs to Craig each day. Call the CEC for details.


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