The Town of Green Mountain Falls can be hard to see from the highway as you wind up the mountains from Colorado Springs. This Town, with a population of 641, is located at the base of a beautiful yet steep wooded mountain area, blanketed with trails and wildlife. The Town has its own volunteer fire department and a Fire Mitigation Advisory Committee that advises and supports Town staff. Being so close to the Waldo Canyon Fire of 2012, residents and town officials are well aware of their wildfire risk and are eager to contribute to the town's resilience.
The Town of Green Mountain Falls was awarded a COSWAP crew time award of 15 weeks to complete the Healthy Forest Project with the Mile High Youth Corps. The treatment area has been impacted by bark beetles and dwarf mistletoe, reducing forest health and increasing the wildfire risk. DNR saw value in their proposal because the project area was on Town owned property adjacent to homes, and it connected to ongoing work from the Coalition for the Upper South Platte. The prescription outlined a patch cut scenario to increase crown spacing. Trees closest to the homes would be cut in moveable firewood size lengths, and the upper slope would be lop and scattered.
The Mile High Youth Corps cleared 10 acres in the summer of 2022, and at that time Nate Scott, the former Town Clerk/Treasurer/Planner, realized this project needed additional funding to continue the work of the corps. Nate took the initiative and applied to Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) using the COSWAP 15 week crew time award as leverage. Green Mountain Falls successfully received an $82,200 GOCO grant to continue the work in 2023 along the Thomas Trail with the Mile High Youth Corps.
DNR encourages grant recipients to leverage COSWAP investments with other funding opportunities, and hopes this area will receive more good work in the future. In addition to the acres completed, Corps members earned valuable training on steep slope tree felling. At the end of the 15 week stint, the Town and fire department hosted an event, sharing gratitude and food for the Mile High Youth Corp’s invaluable service to the town.