This is a recap of our April Facebook Live Tour supported by our partners at Bota Box. We are grateful to them for helping to make this trip possible and for their long-term commitment to the trees and forests of our nation.
Early Monday morning I headed to the mountains to meet with U.S. Forester Sage Finn at the Manitou Experimental Research Station in Pike/San Isabel National Forest. It was serendipitous that the first stop on our tour was at Pike National Forest, a forest Bota Box is helping plant trees in this year. I admired the sun bouncing off Pikes Peak as I drove down the winding road that led to the research station. If you’re ever in the Colorado Springs area and want to explore attractions other than the popular Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak excursions, call the Manitou Experimental Research Station and schedule a tour with a forest ranger. The history of the area is fascinating.
Sage was making lunch on a small camp stove when I arrived. We caught up for a bit—we first met in 2012 when I had just started at the Foundation and had visited Pike National Forest to observe my first high-altitude forest restoration project. We talked about his upcoming retirement, life in the Rockies, and the striking change in intensity and duration of the area’s recent wildfire seasons.
After lunch, we were ready for our first livestream of the tour. The Wi-Fi unexpectedly went down at the station, leaving us scrambling for a cell signal. We found a great spot in a glen just south of the station, an idyllic location. We launched our broadcast under the backdrop of Pikes Peak next to a creek slowly herding water toward one of the many area reservoirs. A fitting location since one of the topics we discussed was the key role trees play in maintaining healthy watersheds. When wildfires like the High Park Fire burn large areas of forest, it affects the ability of mountainsides to retain their soil. Think of tree roots as millions of hands, fingers spread wide, holding that soil in place. When these hands become weak, the likelihood of soil erosion and flash flooding rises dramatically.
Sage shared lots of fascinating information about the wildfires, their impact on the area and the reforestation techniques they were using. After the livestream, we headed into the mountains to visit a section of forest that had been replanted seven years ago with the help of Arbor Day Foundation members and partners. We walked through the head-high Douglas-fir and Lodgepole pines, watching birds and wildlife that made their homes in the area again. It was an incredible experience.
There’s a great quote about tree planting being a practice of patience. I was now witnessing the payoff of that patience. Throughout the week we visited reforestation sites, attended tree distribution events, talked with Colorado forestry officials about urban forestry, and learned about the impact trees have in the state. Revisiting the past reminds us of the progress we’ve made. Thank you to our members and partners who help make our programs successful. Our work is changing lives and leaving an impact.
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Live from Pike National Forest for the first stop of our Facebook Live Series sponsored by our partners at Bota Box.
Posted by Arbor Day Foundation on Monday, April 17, 2017