Reducing Fire Danger, One Acre at a Time

Palmer Land Trust has been awarded critical support through Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) to perform important fuel mitigation and forest restoration work in Teller County. This support will provide 12 weeks of work from the Mile High Youth Corps – Colorado Springs (MHYC) in 2015, with educational assistance and training from the Coalition for the Upper South Platte (CUSP) and PLT.

This project will be a continuation of fuel mitigation work completed by the partner organizations during the summer of 2014, where 10 acres of fire-prone forest was thinned by youth corps members over the course of four weeks. The work was completed on private property protected by a conservation easement held by PLT, and it helped extend a key fire break that provides a vital wildfire buffer for the municipalities of Woodland Park, Cascade, and Green Mountain Falls, as well as for Colorado Springs Utilities reservoirs that hold the city’s drinking water. Learn more about this past year’s success here.

2015 project objectives will allow further expansion of the fire break, as well as provide employment for local youth. Funds for this project were awarded by Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), which receives a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds, to the Colorado Youth Corps Association for use by accredited youth corps. The goal of the program is to employ youth and young adults (ages 14-25) throughout the state on critical outdoor recreation and land conservation projects in partnership with local governments and open space agencies.

This funding and partnership will help provide summer employment for up to 20 youths in the Pikes Peak Region. Corps members leave the experience with a greater knowledge of the importance of conservation and fuel mitigation work, as well as essential life, work, and social skills, empowering them for success as they enter the workforce. This project not only invests in the well-being of our community through training youth, but also in mitigating and protecting vulnerable areas from wildfire and its devastating aftermath.