Brush-thinning efforts resume at Garden of Gods

       The City of Colorado Springs Forestry Division has resumed a forest health project in Garden of the Gods that began in 2005. Beginning this week, contractors are using a combination of hand work and a mechanized grinder to remove mostly dead and dying shrub clumps of Gambel oak, mountain mahogany, sumac and invasive Siberian elm, a city press release states. The work is expected to take six to eight weeks, weather permitting.
       Accord to Dennis Will, staff forester, the project “increases the forest health and decreases the risk of fire.”
       The project cost is funded this year with the help of $35,000 in cumulative donations over the past three years from the Garden of the Gods Trading Post. The money was used to leverage a $53,000 Colorado Community Forest Restoration grant from the Colorado State Forest Service. In four previous years, donations from the Garden of the Gods Foundation (using a share of proceeds from the privately owned Visitor & Nature Center) and from the Hill Foundation have been used in a similar way, contributing a total of $200,000, Colorado Springs Parks Maintenance Director Kurt Schroeder said.
       Since 2005, the city has treated approximately 149 acres in the Garden of the Gods and plans are to treat another 67 more this year.
       For more information, contact the Forestry Office at 385-5942.

Westside Pioneer/press release