Nearly 15,000 trees are being planted this week on the Canyon Lakes Ranger District of the Roosevelt National Forest in four recreation areas.
Mountain Park, West Lake, Dowdy Lake, and Jacks Gulch will all receive new trees to replace those hit by insect and disease, particularly those killed from the current mountain pine beetle epidemic. The purpose of planting is to provide diversity in the ages of trees, including mature trees retained by preventative spraying for the mountain pine beetle and the newly planted seedlings to populate the understory. Most of the trees being planted are ponderosa pine, with approximately 1,000 Douglas fir in the Mountain Park area.
New seedlings will be protected by fencing and vexar tubes — netted tubes that surround each tree. Forest visitors are asked to be careful to avoid these new trees. Given Colorado’s climate, not all of the trees are expected to survive, so they are planted at a higher density to account for this.
The trees planted were grown from seeds collected within the vicinity of these recreation areas and were sown at the U.S. Forest Service’s Bessey Nursery in Nebraska.
This planting is taking place by contractors with U.S. Forest Service oversight. If the public is interested in planting trees for our future forest, then National Public Lands Day on the district is the place to be on September 29. The Canyon Lakes Ranger District is currently planning the event to include more tree planting at Mountain Park.