February, 2011

Featured speaker John Bennett, executive director of Aspen-based For The Forest, described the origin and purpose of the organization, which is to “promote the health of forests, with particular emphasis on promoting the long-term sustainability of Western forests by providing research, management, expertise and related resources, developing and implementing forest management plans, and engaging in relevant activities related to the protection and conservation of forests.”
 
One of FTF’s current initiatives is the Hope Mine Biochar Restoration Project, which, in conjunction with the US Forest Service and Carbondale?based Flux Farm Foundation, is designed to help protect Aspen’s water supply, restoring the natural ecology of the area, and raising awareness about climate change solutions. The Hope Mine is an abandoned mining site on the backside of Aspen Mountain with large tailings piles containing heavy metals. The effort is considered groundbreaking for the way it involves the use of biochar, a wood based product used to regenerate soils for enhanced agricultural production. Details: www.fortheforest.org
 
Ecological & Environmental Aspects of Forest Health
 
For The Forest has organized a symposium at the Aspen Institute on February 18th entitled “Forests at Risk: Climate Change and the Future of the American West.”
 
Mr. Bennett stated that one of the climatic markers that have raised serious concerns about the rapid decline of forests in the Western United States among the scientific community is the fact that the fire season lasts 78 days longer now than it did twenty years ago.
 
He recommended viewing a CBS 60 Minutes feature, The Age of Megafires, available online at http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=5291115n
(Duration: 11:16)
 
The goals of the symposium are to: 1) educate policy makers and public about climate change and forest health; 2) reframe the national dialog about climate change using examples close to home. Climate change is real and personal, Bennett concluded.
 
Open discussion
 
Randy Piper explained how below cost imports of beetle kill lodgepole pine from Canada was compromising the ability of local businesses to source and market wood from Colorado, thereby hampering efforts to reduce fuel loads in our local forests.
 
Sarah Slaton and Daniel Eberle from the Friends of the Dillon Ranger District said their organization will continue to sponsor fire mitigation service days, using volunteers to remove ground fuels and collect firewood. They will collaborate with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado on a youth stewardship program, including a tree planting project in the Blue River campground this summer. Info: www.fdrd.org
 
Beth Huron and Dan Schroder of CSU Extension announced seedlings produced from native species are available for purchase. Order deadline is April 15, 2011. They, along with the Colorado State Forest Service, will host a seedling tree workshop March 1st from 4:30 to 6:00 pm in the Mt Royal Room in the County Commons, Frisco. Dave Miller announced that the Keystone Science School has added a pine beetle town hall meeting and a climate change segment to its curriculum.
 
Jerry Andrew noted that ongoing research on forest climate change, developed by Nicholas Crookston at the Moscow (Idaho) Forestry Sciences Laboratory, could be found at http://forest.moscowfsl.wsu.edu/climate/  He observed that recent aerial surveys had identified an increase of bark beetle infestation in Larimer County from 16,000 to 181,000 acres in the past year.
 
Union Pacific Railhead Update
 
Tom Clark reported that negotiations with Union Pacific, West Range Reclamation and several distribution service providers on a business plan for a rail hub in Kremmling were continuing. For details, contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

Media reports
 
‘Canadian approach’ protects forest around Aspen
Summit County Citizens Voice:  An intensive — and expensive — treatment option for protecting lodgepole pines from beetles is showing some promise on a small test plot near Aspen, said For the Forest director John Bennett, speaking Thursday at a luncheon meeting of the Summit forest health task force.

     
We had 41 attendees. Following are those who signed in:

Jerry Andrew                  Colorado Mountain College-Leadville
Randy Barrientez              Summit County Builders Assn
Jeff Berino                      Lake Dillon Fire Rescue
Bob Berwyn                    Summit County Citizens Voice
Sandy Briggs (scribe)        Forest Health Task Force
Charise Buckley                Beetle Kill Blues
Eileen Davies                   Town of Frisco
Rob Davis                       Forest Energy Corp/CBBC
Thomas Clark                  Town of Kremmling/CBBC
Brett Crary                     White River National Forest-USFS
Cary Green                     White River National Forest-USFS
Howard Hallman              The Greenlands Reserve/Forest Health Task Force
Ken Hostetler                 Resident
Jan Hostetler                  Resident
Beth Huron                    CSU Extension
Sam Kirk                        Friends of the Lower Blue River/Pebble Creek Ranch
Janice Kurbjun                Summit Daily News
Sue LeClair                     Keystone Resort
Mike McHugh                  City of Aurora Water
Dave Miller                      Keystone Science School
Frank Papandrea              Keystone Resort
Theresa Papandrea          SOS Outreach
Don Parsons                   Resident
Stefan Petersen             Town of Winter Park
Brad Piehl (moderator)    JW Associates/Forest Health Task Force
Randy Piper                   GreenWay LLC
Laura Rossetter              Resident
Don Sather                    BigHorn Materials
Dan Schroder                 CSU Extension
Jennifer Scott                Grand County DNR
Linda Schutt                  Resident
Gary Shimanowitz           Breckenridge Ski Resort
Sarah Slaton                  Friends of the Dillon Ranger District
Karn Stiegelemeier         Board of County Commissioners-Summit County
Matt Sugar                   US Senator Mark Udall’s office
Steve Swanson             Blue River Watershed Group
Shirley Willis                  Forest Health Task Force
Jeff Witcosky                USFS Region 2