Monday, January 25, 2016

Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado Restores State’s Flood and Fire-Damaged Trails - Full Article

From Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado

First came the forest fires. Then the floods. As if Colorado’s worst-ever wildfires in 2012 weren’t enough, on September 9, 2013, there was no way to know a 200-mile stretch of Colorado was in the early hours of what experts would ultimately call a 1,000-year rain and a 100-year flood. After a week of rare and relentless rains, an estimated 10 people were killed, 2,000 homes were destroyed, another 18,000 homes were damaged, 30 bridges were lost, and 230 miles of trail were affected.

Though the floods heavily impacted 18 counties in Colorado, Boulder County was hit the hardest; in fact, the area picked up almost nine times its average September monthly rainfall in almost four days. In total, there was about $1.7 million in damages to Boulder County's trails and trailheads.

Jefferson County, another hard-hit area, sustained damage to its 14 of 28 Open Space Parks. Devastatingly, four of their top 10 most visited parks— totaling 1,090 acres— closed in their entirety.

Responding to the need to help restore these damaged— and closed— trails so that eager recreationalists could resume their outdoor activities as soon as possible, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, a statewide volunteer stewardship organization, dedicated a hefty portion of its volunteer projects to recovery efforts last year. Working closely with land managers along the Front Range, VOC was able to mobilize thousands of volunteers (that’s 12,480 hours!) who were eager to see their beloved trails re-opened and their majestic hillsides re-greened post-fire.

One major way in which VOC engaged volunteers last year was through its six fire rehabilitation projects at Waldo Canyon, near Colorado Springs. Following the Waldo Canyon Fire in June 2012 that blackened over 18,000 acres and left a left a chilling path of destruction in its wake...

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