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By Jessica Von Duerring
Special to The SUN
This summer, the statewide nonprofi Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) will lead volunteer service days throughout the state in an effort to restore lands damaged by floods and wildfires.
This year marks VOC’s 30th anniversary and the organization is celebrating with a variety of stewardship projects and special activities statewide. This year, more than one-third of VOC’s public volunteer opportunities — some of which are special 30th anniversary commemorative projects — are flood- and fire restoration-related.
“In recent years, a huge swath of our landscape was damaged by calamitous floods, drought and extreme wildfires,” said Ann Baker Easley, executive director for VOC. “Fortunately, people are eager to help restore and repair these heavily damaged areas, and their volunteer efforts are essential in helping Colorado recover as quickly as possible.”
Below are some of VOC’s upcoming flood and wildfire mitigation projects taking place in the Pagosa area during June and July; similar projects will be announced throughout the season. Other projects are scheduled for August through October.
June 21-22 and July 19-20, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. — West Fork Fire and Trail Restoration. All skill levels, minimum age to volunteer is 16.
The June 2013 West Fork Complex was a complex of wildfires near Wolf Creek Pass, burning more than 109,500 acres. These fires impacted several recreation sites on the Rio Grande National Forest, including motorized and non-motorized trails. Restoration work will focus on improving drainage, building erosion control structures and clearing out blown down debris.
VOC volunteer opportunities are open to the public, and no experience or training is necessary to volunteer. Volunteers are asked to register in advance to ensure adequate quantities of tools, supplies and food. Register via the VOC volunteer project calendar atwww.voc.org/volunteer or by calling (303) 715-1010.
Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) is a statewide nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to motivating and enabling people to be active stewards of Colorado’s natural resources. For 30 years, VOC’s award-winning volunteer, youth and leadership training programs have engaged nearly 100,000 people of all ages in caring for Colorado’s outdoors — a total donated labor value of over $18.6 million. Such volunteer efforts have made a lasting impact on Colorado through hands-on work in wildfire and flood restoration, trail building and maintenance, tree planting and re-forestation, and much more.