MPEC's Biomass Boilers are burning!

Our new biomass boilers are being put into operation this week. Here are some photos of MPEC Maintenance Supervisor Rick Langdon and Director Dave Van Manen firing up one of the two GARN 2000 boilers that we installed this winter. Each boiler is surrounded by 2000 gallons of water that is heated by burning wood. The heat is transferred into the Lodge's hot water heating system as well as into the domestic hot water tanks. The wood comes from thinning our very overgrown forests. Ponderosa pine forests, prior to being managed to eliminate all fires, used to burn every 10 - 15 years (usually started by lightning). These fires kept the forest much less dense than it is today; less fuel usually kept the "cool" fire on the ground (ponderosa pine trees have thick bark and can handle being scorched and still survive), resulting in an open forest with a grassy understory. A century of fire suppression has created dense overcrowded forests that are much more prone to catastrophic wildfires. By removing some of the trees, we are creating a healthier and safer forest, plus fuel for heating the Lodge (reducing our propane consumption to almost nothing). A win win for all!


Spring Wildflowers!

I took a hike on yesterday's lovely afternoon and was happy to find several blooming wildflowers along the trail. Since February's first spring beauties, the dryness had kept many other species from blooming. But the recent moisture has brought many plants to bloom. Here are three species I saw along the Tower and Mace Trails: mountain bladderpod (the yellow flower), kinnikinnick (white and pink), and Pasque flower (lavender). Bladderpod is a mustard that can bloom as early as mid March. Kinnikinnick flowers become red berries that are a favorite food of bears (it is also called bearberry). And "Pasque" means Easter in Latin - true to its name, it is in bloom as Easter approaches. Happy Spring!


Spring snow at Horseshoe Lodge!

Here's a couple of photos taken Thursday morning, April 2, on my morning walk to the office (after 3" of now fell the evening before...a lovely early spring morning - early spring in this part of the world usually means snow), including the morning sun over a snowy Horseshoe Lodge. When I think of my many years of commuting to Pueblo, or getting to various places around the country for work as a musician, or my subway or bus commutes to Brooklyn Tech High School, Hunter College, and A & R Recording Studio in New York, I must say, my five minute walking commute to the office is a real treat!

As March Becomes April at MPEC!

It has been quite a week here at MPEC...along with our Earth Studies program getting back in gear with CSAC testing and spring break behind us, Phase 2 of the Lodge Project has begun. And, Phase 1B (Biomass Boiler Project) is about complete...we still have to pour some cement around the new building, but the boilers are in and this coming Monday (April 6), we plan do do the first firing of the boilers. Here are photos taken around MPEC and Pueblo Mountain Park this past week (spring snow, west wing framing, biomass boilers).