We are pleased to announce our commitment of $30,000 to an important project being implemented by Larimer Conservation District (LCD) within the Cherokee Park community in northern Larimer County. This contribution is a part of our ongoing Cache La Poudre Initiative, which, in conjunction with our Big Thompson Initiative, underscores our commitment to safeguarding the watershed through strategic investments in forest restoration. Our contributions extend beyond mere capital investments in forest restoration, encompassing a wide range of impactful efforts, including:
- Promoting the use of prescribed fire
- Continued education and outreach programs for the public
- Exploring funding mechanisms to scale up forest restoration
- Exploring and advocating policy needs
- Exploring new and existing forest product utilization opportunities
The project is situated within the Poudre River Ranch Homeowners Association and the Diamond Creek Road Association in the Livermore, CO area. This region, located seven miles south of the Wyoming border and eight miles north of Red Feather Lakes, CO, is characterized by its historic forest type of Ponderosa Pine, interspersed with small stands of Lodgepole Pine. Unfortunately, over time, the composition and structure of these forests have shifted drastically. Tree densities are much higher, and the average tree age is lower than the historic reference conditions for the site due to the absence of wildfire as a natural disturbance mechanism for over a century.
Furthermore, non-fire adapted species have encroached into these areas, exacerbated by the Mountain Pine Beetle, which has resulted in swaths of dead and downed ponderosa and lodgepole pine trees throughout North Cherokee Park. The presence of contiguous canopy from living trees greatly increases the risk of catastrophic stand-replacing wildfire.
LCD has contracted 235 acres of forest restoration treatment across 7 different properties, which will receive treatment during the summer of 2023 through the winter of 2024. An additional 160 acres in the adjacent Diamond Creek Road Association began contracting in fall of 2023.
By implementing forest restoration on these acres, we aim to reduce tree density significantly. This will create open spaces and diversity within the forest, making it less prone to intense crown fires. In turn, this will protect neighboring communities and enhance the efficiency of wildfire response efforts.
All project areas are a part of the Trail Creek-North Fork Cache La Poudre River HUC 12 Watershed and will ultimately drain into the Halligan Reservoir, which is a large source of drinking water for the City of Fort Collins. These treatments will better protect these crucial water supplies in the face of large fires.
Both the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service and Larimer County Emergency Services have provided significant funding for the project. The US Forest Service is doing work on neighboring sections of federal ground and Colorado Parks and Wildlife has implemented treatments on a property directly adjacent to this project.
Click HERE to view shareable Fact Sheet with additional project details.
Together We Protect Our Future
Forest restoration treatments such as this aim to bring the forest to a state it used to be in when managed by regular moderate intensity fire. When the forests assume this structure, they are more resilient. When a fire does occur, it is less likely to carry into the crowns of trees becoming catastrophic, high severity fire and are more likely to burn on the ground with less intensity and damage to the ecosystem.
We are proud to support LCD and their exceptional work in preserving Northern Colorado’s natural resources. This project is a vital step towards a greener, safer, and more sustainable future for us all.
Your support and involvement are essential to making a positive impact on our environment. To learn more about our work or get involved, contact us today!