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Balarat Outdoor Education Center

Balarat Outdoor Education Center

  • Client: Denver Public Schools
  • Date: July, 2021 – September, 2021
  • Project Type: Forest Agricultural Plan, wildfire mitigation structure assessments, defensible space layout and marking, environmental education
  • Info: Denver Public Schools contracted Blue Mountain Environmental Consulting to provide a Forest Agricultural Plan for Denver Public School’s 700-acre property. The goal was to implement wildfire mitigation, improve forest health and vigor, preserve habitat, and control noxious weeds and produce forest products.

The 717-acre Balarat Outdoor Education Center is currently owned and operated by Denver Public Schools. The campus facilitates outdoor learning for more than 10,000 students each year and is an integral part of the DPS curriculum.

Blue Mountain Environmental Consulting provided a Forest Stewardship Plan for the property to qualify for Forest Agriculture classification for property tax purposes. The plan met the requirements as described in the CSFS Forest Ag Program guidelines  and CRS 39-1-102.

The plan integrated wildfire mitigation activities and protection of structures from wildfire. Blue Mountain completed a forest inventory and provided management prescriptions and an implementation schedule. This goals is to restore historical structure of the ponderosa pine forests, prevent forest insect and disease infestations and control noxious weeds.

Additionally, we conducted wildfire mitigation structure assessments in conjunction with the Boulder County Wildfire Partners Program. The campus consists of four lodges, seven outdoor classrooms, several minor single-room structures, two residences, two ropes courses, big swing and zipline and an abandoned mine.  We completed defensible-space layouts for all structures per Colorado State Forest Service Defensible Space Guidelines.

BMEC staff coordinated an environmental education field day for campus teachers to advance ecological knowledge and to aide their ability to communicate ecological sciences with students.