Estes Park, Colorado – The Muriel MacGregor Charitable Trust, land stewards and managers of The MacGregor Ranch, are launching a forest restoration project on a 160-acre area in the southeast portion of the 1200-acre property.
In an effort to reduce severe wildfire risk, mortality from insects and disease, as well as improve water quality and range health, the board members for the MacGregor Ranch have collaborated with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District and the Big Thompson Conservation District (BTCD) to implement forest restoration practices during early 2017 through October 2017 (estimated timeline). This work will include removing trees from overly dense areas, using tree harvesting equipment. All cut woody material will be removed, including slash, in order to mitigate added fire risk due to residual fuels. Some removed material will be repurposed and utilized in flood recovery projects within the Estes Valley by the Watershed Coalitions. .
With the additional support of the National Park Service, the Estes Valley Watershed Coalition, the Big Thompson Watershed Coalition, the Little Thompson Watershed Coalition, the Estes Park Environmental Center, and the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS), the BTCD has created a holistic and science-based Forest Management Plan that will address several resource concerns on the property. In addition to improving tree health and vigor of the remaining trees, this restoration will increase understory plant community productivity, improve wildlife habitat for elk, deer, and Abert’s squirrel, and mitigate adverse effects from severe wildfire such as water quality and soil health.
What is our
Forest Restoration Project?
The MacGregor Ranch Trust is dedicated to maintaining the historically significant nature of an active cattle ranch in the Estes Valley, as well as caring for the land in a way that provides long-term conservation and stewardship.
This mission is continually driving the Trustees to invest in natural resource conservation practices, including forest restoration. In 2017, The MacGregor Ranch will initiate one of the most significant investments into forest health seen in Northern Colorado.
Partners include: The Natural Resources Conservation Service, The Big Thompson Conservation District, Rocky Mountain National Park, The Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, The Colorado Forest Restoration Institute, and Front Range Community College.
In partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Big Thompson Conservation District, a science and ecology-based forest management plan has been established for The MacGregor Ranch. Using this management plan as a guide, the resulting forest restoration project will achieve several natural resource goals:
1. Reduce uncharacteristic fire hazard and increase post-fire resiliency of the landscape.
2. Improve diversity of wildlife habitat.
3. Improve forest structure and composition.
4. Enhance recreation and aesthetic values of the property.
5. Create educational opportunities.
Creating Economic Opportunity
To achieve a multi-resource benefit, in many cases significant tree removal is necessary. To fully realize long-term ecological benefits and reduce wildfire hazard, it is important to remove trees completely from the forest. Often, landowners don’t have the capability or time to safely, efficiently, and effectively manage their entire property while removing all the wood. Using qualified mechanical logging contractors is not only the most efficient method of restoration, but also promotes local businesses.