Volunteers sought for 2,800 Red Rock Arbor Day plantings

       More than 100 volunteers are needed to plant 2,800 small indigenous shrubs and trees for Arbor Day on a shaved-off mesa at Red Rock Canyon Open Space Saturday morning, May 7.
       The event will begin at 8:30 a.m. with speeches by city leaders, followed by planting efforts from 9 to noon, according to Dennis Will, a forester with Colo-rado Springs Parks. A continental breakfast will be provided.
       The plantings are intended to restore a roughly 1-acre area next to the Greenlee Trail about a quarter-mile from the city open- space property's main parking lot, which is master-planned to eventually become a dog off-leash area.
       The park is located south of Highway 24 at High Street/Ridge Road.
       Will said last week that about 50 volunteers had signed up. “We need 50 or 60 more,” he said.
       To accommodate the volunteers, extra parking will be allowed outside the lot, Will said.
       Working under the supervision of City Parks-organized crews, participants will be digging holes, planting, mulching and watering. A hat, gloves, sturdy shoes, sunscreen and a water bottle are recommended. Volunteers will need to bring their own shovels.
       The types of vegetation will be gambel oak, mountain mahogany, three-leaf sumac and Ponderosa pine trees. “We're trying to revegetate the area back to its original state,” Will said.
       The top of the mesa is fairly flat and open - reportedly because the Bock family (the former owners, who lived there for about 80 years) bulldozed it to gather fill material for uses elsewhere on the property.
       The speakers will be Paul Butcher, City Parks director; Jim McGannon, City Parks forester; Richard Stettler, chair of the city's Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) committee (which led the Red Rock purchase using city open-space sales tax money); Naomi Marcus, of the Colorado State Forest Service (whose district area includes Red Rock Canyon); Richard Skorman, City Council member; and Chris Lieber, director of development for City Parks and TOPS.
       For more information, call Brenda Bottini at City Parks, 385-6535 or e-mail bbottini@springsgov.com.

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