After the Hunter Creek Valley prescribed burn, officials making sure only native plants take hold

Aspen City Forester Ben Carlsen and Wilderness Workshop Conservation Director Will Roush stood in the Hunter Creek Valley swatting at the flies that swarm among the tall grasses this time of year. While they appeared spent from a long day of weed pulling in the hot sun, each wore an expression of satisfaction for the job they and their volunteers had accomplished.

“Counting staff and volunteers from agencies including Pitkin County, Wilderness Workshop, Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and the U.S. Forest Service, I think we ended up with just over 30 people,” Carlsen said.

The weed pull, which is done annually, took on a greater importance this time, coming on the heels of the 900-acre prescribed burn on the valley in May. The primary focus this year was on eradicating the weeds around the burn areas, and with much of the brush now cleared, Carlson, Roush and others want to be certain that only the seeds of native plants have a chance to take root there.

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