May 23, 2012 5:50 PM by Lacey Steele

Clean-up in Sangre de Cristos will need manpower

We continue to follow the aftermath of the 140 mile per hour winds that caused a lot of damage last November across parts of Southern Colorado.

Trails, campgrounds, and wilderness in the Sangre de Cristos are still in need of cleaning up.

Fallen trees are not unusual in the forest, but this massive damage is clearly unusual.

Imagine the sound of a falling tree a thousand times over.

That's what happened last year on November 11.

"This one just kind of rammed the whole extent of the Sangre's from the Collegiates all the way down to the far south end to an area we call Medano, and even beyond that," said Paul Crespin, San Carlos District Ranger.

In just the San Carlos District, 100 miles of trails are affected.

"That's one of the challenges of the job is to manage the public's natural resources and to deal with Mother Nature on her terms," said Carl Bauer, Recreation, Lands, and Minerals Program Manager.

They're concerned it could affect business this year with less visitors, so they are working as quickly as possible.

There are problems, like wilderness areas where motorized equipment is restricted, so certified sawyers will have to go in with two-man cross-cut saws.

The public can help if they buy a fuelwood permit.

"Our crews have laid trees down and cut them up to firewood length even, and the public can go in there without too much work and load up their pickup truck full of firewood," said Bauer.

One of the places you can do that if you have a permit is Alvarado Campground, which is still closed due to trees down over trails and steps.

An inmate group did a lot of work at the campground in 2005, and the supervisor was shocked to come back this year and see it in this condition.

"A hundred yards from here you couldn't even see through here, that's how thick the trees were," said Dennis DeLong, Correctional Industries Supervisor. "Now you can get up to the top and see all the way down through to the bottom."

It's important to remember a lot of the work is being done by volunteer groups like the Backcountry Horsemen and The Great Old Broads for Wilderness.

The Forest Service wants the Alvarado Campground open by June 29, with the rest of the work hopefully complete by summer or fall.

Click here for more information on the Forest Service.



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