Habitat Restoration

WW launched the program because there is a need and, in a time of limited federal budgets, there simply aren’t enough resources available for the feds to do the restoration work that needs to be done. For example, the White River National Forest’s Travel Management Plan identifies a number of routes that are too expensive or too damaging and need to be decommissioned. The Forest needs help implementing these decisions and we’d like offer whatever help we can marshal.

But on top of that, it’s fun and it’s a great way to involve you, our supporters, in the on-the-ground work of caring for this land we love.

Thanks to our project partners, the Colorado Mountain Club, Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, and the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District of the Forest Service, and to Alpine Bank, the Aspen Thrift Shop, Aspen Skiing Co. Environment Foundation and the Fred & Elli Iselin Foundation for financial support.

Here’s our list of 2016 projects:

  • Fri. (night) – Sun., Jun 24-26 – Crooked Creek Wetland –The Forest Service recently removed a series of dams to restore a former high elevation wetland; we’ll car-camp in the nearby meadow and revegetate the area with native species.
  • Sat., July 9 – Hunter Creek Weed Pull – along with RFOV, ACES, the town of Aspen and Pitkin County we’ll be pulling weeds from around the edges of this May’s prescribed fire in the Hunter Creek Valley to reduce the number of weeds that colonize bare ground created by the fire
  • Fri. (night) – Sun., Aug 26-28 – Lost Man Lake Trail –We’ll be doing some much needed trail work on portions of the Lost Man loop that have become braided and deeply rutted. This wilderness trail is one of the most popular in the Valley and we want to ensure it remains that way. The crew will camp overnight, though you’re welcome to join us for just one day.
  • Sun., Sept. 18 – Barbed Wire Removal along the Government Trail –Remove old barbed-wire fencing to help restore this critical elk calving grounds. Each spring hundreds of elk give birth along the Government Trail but there are old scattered fence lines in the area.  Join us for a day of removing them to make this area as safe as possible for the elk.

Check out our photo gallery (below) from our 2015 projects:

(mouse over image to scroll through images)

Restoration Projects, 2015


More about restoration

After over 150 years of European settlement of the Rocky Mountain West, our wildlands have experienced anthropogenic (human-caused) changes that have had significant effects on their ecological health.

Fire suppression has caused forests to become choked with unnaturally dense tree growth, leading to more severe and damaging wildfires. The invasion of non-native weed species has undermined wildlife habitat. Predator extermination has led to an overabundance of prey, disrupting the balance of vegetation types. A proliferation of forest roads and trails has fragmented habitat, producing ecological islands that are less able to support a full range of species.

Ecological restoration is the targeted repair of damage, or the removal of disturbance, to allow the land to heal itself through natural processes. It can include a wide scope of projects:

  • erosion control
  • removal of non-native species and weeds
  • revegetation of disturbed areas
  • reintroduction of native plant and animal species
  • habitat improvement for species of concern
  • road/trail decommissioning

Recent restoration projects have included turning old roads into trails, removing unneeded barbed-wire fences, pulling invasive weeds, and rerouting trails around sensitive wildlife habitat.