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Author Leads Effort to Reconnect Wildlife Corridors

Wildlife depend on unobstructed access to wetlands and large swaths of wild spaces for breeding and migration across mountain areas between seasons. (Pixabay)
Wildlife depend on unobstructed access to wetlands and large swaths of wild spaces for breeding and migration across mountain areas between seasons. (Pixabay)
August 17, 2017

DENVER – On Saturday, a group of volunteers is heading into a wilderness area south of Bailey to check on restoration work done last year on a former playground for off-road vehicles.

Lee Patton, a renowned author of books set in the great outdoors, is leading the hike. He says in addition to damaging important wetlands, the noise scared away wildlife, effectively cutting off a critical migration corridor.

"It's entirely roadless areas, in other words, public wild lands, and it's important that we restore it, and keep abusers out of it, so that the wildlife will return," he stresses.

After the U.S. Forest Service closed the road, Patton says conservationists put up additional barriers to discourage vehicles from returning, and re-seeded the site with new grass to help bring the area back to its wild state.

On Saturday, volunteers will see if vegetation has improved, check for signs of wildlife, and look for any evidence of ATV breaches around the gate.

Patton says there's plenty of space for legal off-road recreation, but this particular site needs to stay wild to allow numerous species of animals and plants to thrive across the Green Mountain area.

"Thousands and thousands and thousands of miles in the high country are set aside for legal off-highway use,” he points out. “And for a lot of people it's a great family activity, a camping activity."

Patton notes keeping the wetland site clean is important not only for wildlife, but it's also part of the watershed for the South Platte River, which provides drinking water for communities across the Front Range.

Those who'd like to join Patton on Saturday, or for future restoration efforts, can call 817-939-4239.


Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO