Photo: Volunteers in 2018 on the banks of the Fraser River in Tabernash plant willow stalks in an effort to provide shade for the river bed to help trout population and aquatic life thrive in the warm summer season.    Photo by Jerry Nissen

The local Colorado River Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited needs a few hours of your time! Trout Unlimited has again organized a volunteer event on May 4, 18 and 19. This three-day event is your chance to get directly involved in saving and restoring our local rivers.   

This will be Trout Unlimited’s third annual on-the-ground-and-in-the-river event to harvest and plant willows along rivers in our valley. Restoring willows helps provide shade and reduce erosion. Shade helps lower water temperatures (trout can’t live in warm water) and stopping erosion keeps silt and soil from muddying streams.  

This year’s project is along Ranch Creek, a tributary of the Fraser River, downstream from Devil’s Thumb Ranch. On Saturday, May 4, volunteers will harvest willow “stakes”. The willows will be nurtured for two weeks to encourage them to sprout. On May 18 and 19, the sprouting willows will be planted in carefully selected spots.

Experienced Trout Unlimited members will teach the proper techniques for both harvesting and planting, so you just need to be willing rather than experienced! Volunteers at past events have worked hard but had lots of fun. It’s a great bonding opportunity for everyone to share a rewarding experience in the outdoors while helping improve our local environment.

TU is even providing coffee, lunch and a beer at the end of the day!

What do you need to bring? Appropriate clothing for the weather and spending time outdoors. A good pair of sturdy work gloves is crucial. Boots or waders are a plus, but a few loaners will be available and not all jobs require getting in the river.

Sign-up to volunteer, learn more, see video of previous willow planting, learn the secrets of willow harvesting and much more at the local Trout Unlimited website at