The Carved Trees of Vallecito Lake are a memorial to firefighters who died trying to protect the valley from the tremendously destructive Missionary Ridge fire in 2002. They were sculpted from some of the burnt trees using photos taken during the blaze.
Images of firefighters, equipment, animals, and actual events were depicted. A guide map showed where to find the 14 sculptures, along the drive by the lake. They averaged 18ft tall and were easily found; each with a plaque describing the image.
Merchants, banks, and patrons financed the project which makes a wonderful tribute to those that fought to save the community from a devastating catastrophe. Today, the area seems to be mostly recovered.
It was a beautiful area with a large lake for boating and fishing, hiking trails, campgrounds, restaurants, and shops. Located about 20 miles northeast of Durango, the lake and tree carvings would be a worthy side-trip for anyone.
Camp: San Juan NF-Miller Creek CG drycamp
Scene: Trees, sculptures, lake, creeks