Outstanding Forest Steward of the Year Teaches Kids of All Ages
Reprinted from the Front Range Fuels Partnership newsletter
Bill Carpenter wanted to create a place where kids could come to play in the great outdoors, learn about the wonders of nature, express their creativity and work with their hands. But when Carpenter refers to “kids,” age isn’t a fac- tor. He still believes that a little bit of the child lives in everyone, regardless of age.
Watching 70 students from Coal Creek Canyon K-8 School and the parent volunteers, teachers and princi- pal as they descend on the Carpenter Mountain Forest Demonstration site for a tour of the interpretive trail, you get the feeling Carpenter might just be right.
With help from the Colorado State Forest Service, USDA Forest Service, American Forest Foundation and others, Carpenter created the interpretive trail system in 2005. Since then, he has, upon request, opened the trail to fellow landowners and various groups and orga- nizations for training and educational purposes. He also enthusiastically welcomes youth to visit—and experi- ence—everything that nature has to offer. The cost was a visit with him at the end of the trail so he can hear what they learned and what ideas they might have to improve the learning experience.
ardship program,” said Jahnke. “Not only does he ac- tively manage his forest land to achieve health, vigor and productivity, he has opened his property to other landowners, school children and the general public to help them understand why it’s important to manage our forests.”
Just two years after Carpenter purchased his land in Boulder County, he worked with the Colorado State For- est Service to develop a management plan, and he’s been improving on that plan ever since. Plan objectives in- clude improved forest health and productivity, multiple use management that focuses on wildfire fuels reduc- tion while producing viable forest products, wildlife en- hancement, preserving the aesthetic qualities of the property, protecting the property’s soil and water re- sources, and educational outreach.
Carpenter’s journey down this trail began when he purchased his 270-acre parcel of forest land in 1984. From the start, he wanted to restore and maintain the health of his forested land, improve wildlife habitat and for- age—and create the kind of views for which Colorado is famous. Little did he know that his vision would be- come a lifelong endeavor that would earn him the 2005 Outstanding Forest Steward of the Year Award.
And Carpenter’s management plan doesn’t sit on the shelf collecting dust. For example, from 1986-1996, he removed standing dead trees and trees infected with mountain pine beetles. And every year since then, he’s either treated fuels to mitigate fire hazards, patch-cut openings to create safety zones in the event a fire does reach his property, or thinned aspen to maintain health and encourage regeneration.
In a surprise ceremony at the Carpenter Mountain Demonstration Forest on April 19, 2006 the Colorado Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee, along with the students from Coal Creek Canyon K-8 School who participated in an Earth Day program in the morning, honored Carpenter for his active forest management and promotion of forest stewardship.
Jeff Jahnke, Colorado State Forester, selects the recipi- ent each year based on recommendations by the Colo- rado Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee, which is comprised of representatives from natural resources agencies and organizations to help guide funding and programmatic efforts of the Forest Stewardship Program.
“Mr. Carpenter embodies the spirit of the forest stew-
Carpenter also continues to participate in several other forestry related programs including the Forest Agricul- ture Tax Program, American Tree Farm System and the local Flat-Irons Tree Farm Association.
To be nominated for the award, an individual must be recognized as a Colorado forest stewardship landowner and demonstrate that the land is actively managed ac- cording to its stewardship plan. All entries are judged on the relevance of the management objectives to pri- ority resource issues and the Forest Stewardship Program; land stewardship accomplishments, objectives and im- provements; promotion of forest stewardship for greater public awareness; and the nominee’s involvement in stewardship issues.