Trail Creek Restoration

Final Report

The 2002 Hayman Fire grossly affected Trail Creek, a tributary to the South Platte River, with a concomitant increase of sediment yield, increases in significant flood events, and reduced habitat quality.

by Coalition for the Upper South Platte

The morning of Sunday, June 8, 2002, broke with blue skies and dry winds. An upper atmosphere low-pressure system, stretching from Washington State to the plains, brought increasing wind speeds as the day progressed. At 4:55 P.M. a fire was reported just south of Tarryall Creek and west of Highway 77 near Lake George, CO. Named for a mining-era ghost town nearby, the Hayman Fire went on to become the largest fire in modern Colorado history, scorching 60,000 acres in the first day and ultimately burning over 137,000 acres, much of it at
high intensity.

The area around Trail Creek was significantly degraded by the fire, with much of the watershed burned. Post-fire impacts in Trail Creek included detrimental flooding, impaired aquatic habitat, and unsustainable sediment movement.

Recognizing these problems and seizing an opportunity to implement system-wide change, a coalition of partners joined together under the National Forest Foundation's Treasured Landscapes, Unforgettable Experiences campaign to restore Trail Creek.

From start to finish, the Trail Creek Project was highly collaborative. To achieve the kind of holistic, landscape-scale vision the initial partners (the National Forest Foundation, Pike National Forest, and Coalition for the Upper South Platte) had for restoration work in Trail Creek, a much larger coalition of different partners with different funding mechanisms and expertise were brought together. By working cooperatively on such a large project, partnering organizations from all sectors were able to use resources more effectively, accomplish project goals efficiently, and learn a great deal from one another. Restoring an extensive stretch of channel and watershed successfully could not have been accomplished without this high level of collaboration.

Attached document published April 2015

About the Author


THE COALITION FOR THE UPPER SOUTH PLATTE (CUSP) PROTECTS THE WATER QUALITY AND ECOLOGICAL HEALTH OF THE UPPER SOUTH PLATTE WATERSHED, THROUGH THE COOPERATIVE EFFORTS OF WATERSHED STAKEHOLDERS, WITH EMPHASIS PLACED ON COMMUNITY VALUES AND ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY.

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