Volunteers work to bring trees back to Point Park in Grand Lake | SkyHiNews.com

Volunteers work to bring trees back to Point Park in Grand Lake

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi Daily News
Grand Lake, Colorado

The daughter of the couple who once owned Point Park land has spearheaded a fundraising campaign to return the Park to its former woodland.

“When I saw the devastation of what had happened, it absolutely broke my heart,” said Barbara Leutwiler of Grand Lake and Boulder.

Because of safety concerns that beetle-affected trees could topple during strong winds, a tree-removal company contracted by the U.S. Forest Service removed 200 lodgepole pine trees in early winter.

The project transformed the park from a shady retreat to a denuded, stump-littered landscape.

Leutwiler and her husband Robert’s cabin, which formerly belonged to her parents R.J. and Joan MacCornack, is one of Point Park’s immediate neighbors.

The Point Park tree work damaged the Leutwilers’ fence.

While asking forest officials to repair the fence, Leutwiler said she promised to help the agency reforest the park in any way she could.

From there “Friends of Point Park” sprouted in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, she said, a fundraiser to procure “large specimen trees” 5 to 7 feet-tall such as Engelmann and Colorado blue spruces for a Point Park replanting ” scheduled May 9.

The channel-side of the land belonged to Leutwiler’s family before her father traded it to the U.S. Forest Service in exchange for the privilege of dredging the canal for access to the family’s boathouse. The exchange took place about 30 years ago.

“Over the years, we felt very protective of Point Park,” she said. For this reason, the family stayed involved with the town, ensuring that improvements were made for those who visited the point to enjoy the area’s most direct Mt. Craig view.

Over the years, the park has gained in popularity and grown in the hearts of Grand Lakers. Many weddings have taken place at the park.

Leutwiler said she fears the moose who often visited and felt protected in the small park will no longer visit unless trees are returned to the environment.

Foresters who attended Grand Lake’s town hall meeting on Monday outlined their plans to improve the park, which comprises of planting 50-60 3-foot lodgepole pine seedlings this spring, trees that fare well in the park’s ground conditions in addition to willows and few other species. Park officials told the town they would work with it on landscaping plans, improving the park’s walkway and reducing remaining stumps.

The town of Grand Lake offered to contribute Lodgepole pine trees, in-kind digging and compost material.

“Reforesting Point Park means each of us has the opportunity to contribute back to a small patch of earth that has given so much to us: beauty, calmness, serenity, laughter, happy memories, new beginnings (like weddings), great fishing, and friendly gatherings,” Leutwiler said. “I started this project out of complete love and devotion,”

” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail tbina@skyhidailynews.com.

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