Black Tree Demolition

John Deere Skid Steer/Mulcher Deployment

You may want to read the following if you are a property owner in the Black Forest who

  • has black trees that either have fallen and litter your property in a tangled mess or are still standing and present a demoralizing reminder of the fire and pose a safety hazard
  • are tired of dealing with this formidable, dirty, laborious and hazardous demolition task
  • are physically unable to tend to this task
  • can’t afford commercial tree demolition rates

Neil Behnke, the winner of the John Deere “Small Machine/Big Impact” Contest, received and trained on the skid steer and mulcher attachment. In collaboration with Black Forest Together, Neil is prepared to begin black tree demolition in late January. Neil has formed a Colorado licensed business enterprise, Black Forest Impact, LLC, to provide demolition services.

Charges: In order to conduct operations, there will be charges for expenses which include fuel, lubricants, equipment insurance, liability insurance, maintenance, repairs, transport/mobilization and general overhead and administration.

Pricing for services of the black tree demolition program will be modeled similar to the BFT Trees4Tomorrow Program. There are two classifications of pricing for those that were owners of property at time of the 2015 fire and those that purchased property subsequent to the fire. The first category will be charged $550/day; the latter category $850.   A day of operation Is considered 6 hours of machine time. Black Forest impact, LLC will provide property owners an estimate of the time required to complete a project. Payment adjustments will be made for projects completed in times less or greater than the estimate in half day increments.

Owners of property at time of the 2015 fire that are unable to pay pricing rates may apply for financial assistance with BFT.

It should be noted that pricing for services offered is significantly below market rates ($3,000 plus/acre) and that Neil is donating his time and equipment. Any funds exceeding expenses will be used to fund the projects of those approved for financial assistance and general operating expenses. Neil and BFT believe that this demolition program will be an affordable alternative to commercial pricing and allow the residence of Black Forest to clear their property of black sticks and focus on reforestation.

Capabilities of mulcher: felling and mulching burnt trees up to 8” in diameter. Demolition of larger diameter trees will be the responsibility of the property owner. It is estimated that 80% of trees will be 8” in diameter or less.


  • Services provided by Black Forest Impact, LLC: demolition which includes felling and mulching of burnt trees in diameter of 8” or less. Residual mulch will be approximately 18” and less. Demolition takes the tree down to ground level with no stump remaining. No stumps, slash or logs remain.
  • Services provided by BFT: Administration of Projects which includes provision of project information; provision of phone service; scheduling site visits and projects; management of payments. BFT may also provide transport vehicle and trailer for the skid steer and mulcher.


Property owners will contract with Neil Behnke, PC and will be required to sign authorizations for access to property and waivers of liability releasing Neil Behnke, PC from liability from any property damage or personal injury. BFT is not a contractor for this program; its role is limited to administrative services.

Survey: In order to assess the community’s interest in this program, BFT is asking that those interested to email their contact information to . Contact information should include property owner status (before/after fire), name, phone #, address, approximate #acres for the project.

Black Forest Together Disaster Recovery Consulting Service

Black Forest Together has created The Phoenix Program – A Disaster Recovery Tutorial

The Phoenix Program is intended to assist communities affected by, or preparing for, disaster in the planning and implementation of sustainable recovery activities. This Program is a plug and play application intended to accelerate recovery activities. Its concept is founded in five years of “Lessons Learned” and practical experiences of the Board of Directors and staff of Black Forest Together.

Black Forest Together is experienced in planning and executing sustainable, long-term recovery operations for a community which is either planning for or has experienced a natural disaster.

Communities are generally ill-prepared and inexperienced to initiate recovery activities. They will struggle to

  • coalesce a leadership team,
  • develop a functional organization to plan recovery operations,
  • identify community needs,
  • understand the scope and complexity of recovery operations,
  • plan, coordinate and resource a comprehensive and sustainable recovery plan.

Black Forest Together has developed a “turn key” consultative model that provides

  • recovery plans,
  • organizational structure,
  • communication methodologies and
  • a myriad of policies and procedures that can be exported to, and implemented by, any community in a natural disaster recovery mode.

The purpose of this model is to give community leaders the tools to minimize the time for the implementation of recovery operations. It mitigates the “what the heck are we to do” anxiety allowing leadership to act with a sense of purpose and confidence in communicating with and serving their community.  The seminal lesson learned is that recovering communities will have to fend for themselves once the responder organizations move on to the next catastrophe and the media consider your circumstance “old news”. Recovery operations, particularly from fire in a forested or wilderness area, may take twenty years or more. The Phoenix Program provides a means of planning for extended recovery operations.

2nd Annual Fund Raiser “Fun(d) in the Forest

Thanks to those that supported and attended the 2nd Annual Black Forest Together (BFT) Dinner and Fund Raiser Activities. For the second consecutive year there were approximately 220 in attendance. The event netted $6,500 in proceeds that will be used to pay operating expenses.

BFT is a “grass roots” organization which is dependent upon the support of the residents and the business community to continue its recovery, mitigation and tree transplant 0perations. It encourages the community to consider supporting its operations by either volunteering for its community projects and/or providing monetary contributions. To date, BFT has conducted over 500 recovery projects, contributed over 48,000 hours of volunteer services, and disbursed nearly $500,000 in State grant funds for mitigation of the forest and under the auspices of its Trees4Tomorrow Program transplanted nearly 1,600 trees to the burn area. Community support is vital to continued operations.

The BFT Board of Directors and Staff wish to express their sincere appreciation to Hank Cramer and his son, Hank, for their musical performance at the event. This is their 3rd benefit on behalf of BFT. Their entertainment was the highlight of the evening.

The BFT Board of Directors also greatly appreciates the contribution of Frankie and Kathy Patton, owners of Frankies Too Restaurant in Falcon, for providing the food for the event for the second year. Their contribution significantly enhances the profitability of the event.

BFT Board wishes to recognize the following businesses for their sponsorship of the event:

Black Forest Automotive

Black Forest Pies and Grinders

Louie’s Pizza

Margarita at Pine Creek Restaurant

R & R Café

Ted’s Montana Grill

Magnum Shooting Center


At the end of October, BFT concluded its operations related to its TREES 4 TOMORROW (T4T) PROGRAM. T4T Program operations began in earnest the 1st of June. During its 5 months of operations, it transplanted 1,050 trees, primarily to burn areas. This program raised funds to sustain recovery, restoration and reforestation projects conducted by Black Forest Together. It has been given very favorable reviews by those participating in the program as it is an affordable reforestation initiative which restores wildlife and bird habitat and mitigates erosion.

T4T Program is a Black Forest Together reforestation initiative dedicated to transplanting trees from ‘donor’ properties of the forest to private properties in the burn scar. Trees are available to both those who suffered from the fire as well as other property owners interested in purchasing trees at discount prices. You are encouraged to visit for pricing information. Reforestation has been added to the Black Forest Together mission of Recover, Rebuild, Restore. T4T Program also moves trees for property owners. If you wish to either donate trees or make a contribution, please visit We are also soliciting business sponsorship.

If you are interested in either donating or requesting trees, you are encouraged to contact our office to get in the que for our operations beginning in the Spring of 2019.

Seedling Planting Guide

Sponsored by

Want to Volunteer? Volunteer Groups Needed for Summer Wood Chipping projects

Is your group looking ahead for spring/summer projects? There is still much outdoor work to be done, cleaning up from the fire! We can use all ages and stages of workers, and we find that a group of 8-12 workers is ideal. Please contact the Resource Center for more details on how to help. (

Current volunteer openings include Office Volunteer, Grant Researcher, Grant Writer.

Resource Center Volunteer Staff hours are 9-1 Monday through Friday. No appointment is necessary, but a call to confirm that we are open would be wise. If you need an appointment outside of office hours, call 495-2445 during office hours and we will do our best to accommodate you.”

 Read the 2017 Black Forest Together Annual Report

To access the report, click here

Donate To Black Forest Together Click here to use PayPal to Donate. You do not need a PayPal account.