The project took place at Coller State Wildlife Area near South Fork, Colorado, focusing primarily on removing fallen limbs and Cottonwood trees that had accumulated from previous storms. Volunteers undertook this concerted effort with the dual purpose of enhancing accessibility to the wildlife area and fostering a healthier habitat for the local wildlife.
"An ice storm caused extensive damages to cottonwoods at Coller State Wildlife Area," said Cole Birdsey, NWTF Upper Rio Grande Chapter president. "The limbs on the ground made recreation at the state wildlife area more difficult. Our chapter of NWTF was happy to partner with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to remove the downed timber to create better access at Coller for our local hunters and fishermen."
The support of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife amplified the success of this conservation project. The agency supplied all the equipment necessary for the project, as well as enlisting the assistance of three of their employees.
Coller State Wildlife Area boasts an array of outdoor activities, including hunting opportunities for various game species, fishing in the Coldwater river, hiking and wildlife viewing. Improved access to the wildlife area means expanded opportunities for overall outdoor recreation.
"Conservation projects are not only good for the environment, but also for the people who participate in them," NWTF district biologist Chuck Carpenter said. "They foster a sense of teamwork, responsibility, and appreciation for nature. By working together to clean up and protect our Colorado State Wildlife areas, we ensure that these precious resources will be enjoyed by generations to come."
Volunteers took the removed limbs and timber, transforming them into a new media using a woodchipper. These woodchips were loaded onto a dump truck and will be used in future projects on local state wildlife areas, contributing to erosion control and habitat enhancement projects.
"After a successful banquet this spring, it is great to see a new chapter getting involved with conservation in their local area," said Rob Schmidt, NWTF Conservation Fundraising Specialist. "Helping to clean up our local State Wildlife Area will help to make an enjoyable experience in the outdoors for others. We hope to continue our partnership with Colorado Parks and Wildlife and to complete more projects in the future."
The chapter's journey began with their first banquet in June, raising over $11,000 for the NWTF mission, signaling a promising start to their commitment to conservation and our hunting heritage.