Coniferous trees cover about 52,000 acres of the State Forest. Those trees include mostly lodgepole pine, followed by Englemann spruce, sub-alpine fir, Douglas fir, Colorado blue spruce, ponderosa pine and limber pine. The lodgepole pine is the most common, covering about 60 percent of all tree cover with the spruce and fir community accounting for 23 percent. The remaining 17 percent of cover is deciduous aspen forests.
Forest history and issues
An intensive effort to protect this natural resource is at the forefront of the State Forest management plan, check out the pine beetle epidemic document.
A major fire burned a great deal of the forest about 130 years ago. Most lodgepole pine sites were burned. The stands that escaped the fire are a source of dwarf mistletoe infection in young trees.
In Coniferous forests, kinnikinnick, vaccinium, common juniper, rose and Oregon grape are common plants found.
In the aspen forest, the typical plant species are daisy, common juniper, smooth brome, mountain muhly, squaw currant, fescue, golden banner and yarrow.
Other vegetation groups on park
- A shrub zone is found on south and southwest exposures as well as flat areas that receive sun throughout the day. Common plants include bitterbrush, big sagebrush, rabbitbrush, prickly pear, serviceberry, blue grama, sedge and wheatgrass.
- A riparian zone occurs along the streams, where willows are the predominant vegetation. Other species include chokecherry, horsetail, sedge and squaw currant.
- In the tundra above timberline, the alpine will explode with color as the flowers burst into bloom in June and July. The yellow snow buttercup, white marsh marigold, blue alpine forget-me-not, moss campion, rydbergia, fairy primrose and many more create a spectacular alpine flower garden.