Friday, September 4, 2009

Fremont Experimental Forest

Picture courtesy of Colorado Springs Gazette and Eric Swab/ Fremont Experimental Forest Concrete Seedhouse
When you think of Colorado, I'm sure that you think of mountains and trees, but by 1900, 75% of the forests around Pikes Peak had been destroyed by fires or logging. Any reforesting efforts were done by scattering seeds, till a 24 year old Carlos Bates, graduate of a new field in forestry, came and started the Fremont Experimental Forest.
Carlos and a few men picked a site by No Name Creek, which is less then a mile from the Manitou Incline by Manitou Springs, Colorado. They built a few small shacks and turned the surrounding hills into a laboratory. This was done so that Coloradans could learn to repair the disappearing forests.
They planted oaks, Japanese larch, native evergreens and exotic trees to see which ones were best suited for the Rockies. The native evergreens won out.
They learned leaving mature trees for shelter encouraged quicker regrowth, seedlings have more success then seeds and seeds gathered from trees close to the planting site made the hardiest seedlings. The Forest Department still use these practices today.
The Fremont ran experiments till 1935, in 1945 the Forest Service had almost all the buildings demolished. The picture above is one that survived, also after 100 years, 5 Japanese larch still are growing there.
The reason we know this now is due to a local hiker by the name of Eric Swab. He came across piles of rusted instruments on a hike and he researched the forest's history plus found old photos. His findings are one of the new exhibits at the Old Colorado City Historical Society.
So, thank you Eric for taking the time to give us a valuable history lesson.


Darlene said...

Thank you for information that is new to me about Colorado. I would have been ten years old when the seedling project was started and it was probably part of the WPA program.

Looking to the Stars said...

Darlene, your welcome. I found it totally fascinating because I had never heard about it. I'd like to hike up there and see the Japanese lurch.

I doubled spaced this post and was surprised to find that it didn't take. It all blended together, does anyone else have this problem. Sometimes it takes the double space and sometimes it doesn't. Just wondering if I'm doing something wrong :)

kenju said...

Thanks so much for following me. I worked all day and I'm tired, but when I rest a while I'm going to come back and read here.

Looking to the Stars said...

kenju, what a wonderful surprise. What time is it in Paris? I found your blog so beautiful. Get your rest and thank you for stopping by :)

Looking to the Stars said...

kenju, I'm an air head, I visited your blog and another blog. I got the two mixed up, sorry :(
But what I said applies except the Paris remark (I am such a boob)
I'm looking forward to reading more posts on your blog :) called Imagine (I've got it straight now)

BigRabbie said...

Hello from Cannons Creek Australia, I have only just heard of the forest and enjoyed your article very much, Regards, Big Rabbie.

Looking to the Stars said...

BigRabbie, HELLO! Glad you liked the article and thanks for stopping by. I would LOVE to visit Australia someday. You have a beautiful country and wonderful people :)