Today was the last day the sort yard was open for the season. For those of you not living up in the mountains, you might wonder — what is a sort yard? On mountain properties, while we may not need to mow the lawn or pull the weeds, that does not give us a free pass on having to care of our property.  You can trade in that lawnmower for a nice 16-inch chainsaw and the amount of work you will have to do will seem endless.

Because trees dying of various afflictions, whether it be insects, disease, or drought, is a never-ending occurrence on mountain land, the need to cut trees is also never-ending.  Add to that the need to be vigilant about fire mitigation, and the associated need to not only cut trees, but limb them (meaning cutting the limbs up to 7 feet) and you can spend your entire weekend working outside.  Some of the wood you cut, you can use to burn in your wood-burning stove, but what about the rest of it?  That’s where the sort yard comes in.

When we bought our home in Nederland, the previous owner left us a lovely present — piles and piles of slash.  Slash is the miscellaneous branches, dead wood, etc. from trees that are cut, trees that are downed by wind, or any method.  In some moister parts of the country, you might burn that slash in a nice bonfire.  But here in the mountains, espcially during what has been a very dry 2 1/2 months, it is dangerous to burn slash, and sometimes just outright illegal depending on fire restrictions.

So back in 2009, the county opened a sort yard, where residents could take their slash and pile it up, and the good folks of the county then chip all of that wood into a fine mulch.  So when we purchased our house complete with three large slash piles, we set about hauling all that slash to the local sort yard.  We were able to borrow a friend’s “schlepper” truck (very old, very beat up truck good for short, lcoal trips) and get rid of teh slash.  It took us about 8 loads per slash pile and pretty much teh entire weekned, but eventually, those piles were gone.

Now we try to be more proactive, and cut as needed and quickly take it to the local sort yard.  The best thing is that service is provided free of charge too all the residents around here, even those not living in Boulder County (Rollinsville is only 3 miles away but in Gilpin county).  The sort yard gives people an opportunity to remove this potentially dangerous wood in a timely manner as a communtiy service.  Ultimately, it helps all of us as a community to get rid of dangerous build up of dead and down wood and stay a little bit safer.