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By Aaron Kimple
Special to The SUN
Temperatures are up, streams are running and plants are starting to leaf out. You have begun to dress up the yard for the season’s barbecues and festivities. Vegetables are being planted in beds. What you need most is mulch. There is an opportunity to purchase locally generated mulch, encourage healthy, fire resistant forests and support a local group working to make the community stronger for the long-term.
Healthy forests mean healthy communities. The San Juan Headwaters Forest Health Partnership (SJHFHP) is a group composed of local citizens, businesses, Archuleta Firewise, county representatives, environmental groups, resource managers and federal land managers. The group works to address forest health issues, wildfire risk and watershed/water quality concerns throughout the community. SJHFHP offers educational opportunities, monitors forest treatments and discusses how to prevent catastrophic impacts from wildfire on necessary resources (i.e. clean water).
“The group was formed around forest health concerns but, through a series of discussions, realized that forest health had a ripple effect that extended across many of our community’s vital resources,” explained Aaron Kimple, program coordinator.
The Forest Health Company signed a long-term stewardship contract with the Pagosa Ranger District of the United States Forest Service. The contract involves thinning overgrown forest and chipping the wood product removed.
“Our plan is to remove and chip trees and use the chips to generate electricity for the Pagosa Area,” stated JR Ford of the Forest Health Company. “We have been involved with the San Juan Headwaters Group since it began and want to support their efforts. We currently are offering our chips for purchase. Any sales will be donated to the headwaters group.”
Kimple stated, “We are grateful to the Forest Health Company for their support. It allows us to assist the community in discussing how to address forest and community health.”
Mulch comes in 100-pound “super sacks” and interested folks will need a truck to transport them. The cost is $20 per sack with a $15 refundable charge for the sack when it is returned. For details, visit www.sanjuanheadwaters.org or call the Forest Health Company at 264-5000.