Stratton Open Space isn't like it used to be

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This ponderosa pine monoculture spaces trees so you can see several hundred yards into the distance. Critics say it ruins the "alone in the woods" sense you get from hiking in the forest. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • This ponderosa pine monoculture spaces trees so you can see several hundred yards into the distance. Critics say it ruins the "alone in the woods" sense you get from hiking in the forest.
Stratton Open Space provides a different experience these days after the city spent several months mitigating for fire danger, which involved removing the "understory" from the forest floor as well as many trees.

The city stands by its strategy to clear out brush and thin tree stands, which some open space advocates argue goes too far.

City foresters point to a white paper on mitigation, from which this portion is taken:
Restoration of spatial, temporal and landscape heterogeneity of mixed conifer forests in the southern Front Range and mitigation of hazardous fuels can be accomplished (often simultaneously) with careful design, implementation, and sequencing of treatments, even where our scientific understanding is less than complete. Several initial guidelines seem reasonable, derived from the scientific knowledge available for the local treatment areas and the broader Front Range. More concrete and detailed plans can be completed as more knowledge and treatment experience are accumulated. It must be recognized that no one treatment or combination of treatments is likely to suffice. Patch uniformity across the landscape is to be avoided; rather, historical forests teach us that diversity of patches across the landscape is more the ecological norm and assures more resilience in the face of change.
Furthermore, sustaining landscape diversity is a longā€term process and may involve multiple management steps in the decades ahead.
Read the entire document here:
See related PDF Mixed_Conifer_Management_Guidelines_in_the_Southern_Front_Range.pdf
Take a tour of the Stratton Open Space via this slide show.

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