The Trail Creek area was swept clean of vegetation by the 2002 Hayman Fire. As a result of the fire that creek continues to transport harmful silt to the South Platte River. That river is our CCTU home water and we feel obligated to help it heal. On August 20, 2016 ten members of CCTU volunteered to help.  With the help of members of CUSP and of Boy Scout Troop 88, we spent the day stabilizing the stream bank of Trail Creek. We seeded about half an acre of stream bank and planted an estimated 1300 willows. These plants will help stop a portion of the estimated 70 tons of silt that flow annually into the South Platte River near Deckers. CCTU members Jim Rasmussen and Jerry Shin had the opportunity to work this exact area about four years ago. These two volunteers were overjoyed to see the pine saplings they planted back then have survived and thrived to become 3 to 4 foot tall pine trees. Grass that was seeded then has transformed charred earth into meadows. Willows have grown into patches so large that we were able to harvest some of them for the current project. Leopard frogs have returned. Although much work remains, it was heartening to see the improvement thanks to the work of volunteers like CCTU members. Here is a link to CUSP’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/uppersouthplatte/videos. The video titled “Our very own drone pilot shot this neat video of…” is a drone video taken during the August 20 Trail Creek Conservation Project. The folks on the ground are Cutthroat members, Scouts from Troop 88, and CUSP members.

This is Trail Creek four years ago, ten years after the Hayman Fire. There was little evidence that native plants had been able to reestablish themselves.
Trail Creek four years ago

This is the Trail Creek area today. The improvement is largely due to the efforts of CCTU volunteers four years ago. Planted grasses created a meadow and the lowest sediment trap has become a pond lined with willows.
Trail Creek area today

The willows were now so dense in the lower parts of the wash that they could become source materials for new plantings. Here Jim prepares some willows for planting.
Jim preparing to plant willows

Sediment traps farther up the drainage were the focus of the current project. Willows were planted in these areas that have now silted in and require stabilization.
Willows ready for planting near Trail Creek