Central Colorado Forest Collaborative

About Central Colorado Forest Collaborative

Forest and fire managers agree that Southern Colorado is at great risk of more high-severity wildfires due to over a century of fire suppression and other land use practices. The risk is amplified by climate change. Such events cause immediate impacts to rural and urban communities; drastic erosion and flooding that pose a serious hazard to human health, safety, and water quality; as well as short-term and long-term impacts on recreation, wildlife, forest industries, and communities. The consequences of insufficient action are huge, both in social and economic terms. This situation is not limited to Colorado but is being seen across the West. Based on these overwhelming risks, U.S. Forest Service Chief, Randy Moore, announced the Wildfire Crisis Strategy (WCS) in January of 2022 (see Confronting the Wildfire Crisis), and identified the Front Range of Colorado across the Pike and Arapaho National Forests as one of ten initial WCS landscapes where, with Congressional support, the Forest Service intended to make large investments to dramatically increase the pace and scale of forest health treatments.

No one agency or community can tackle this alone, so the WCS strategy called for strong collaboration between the Forest Service, partners, and local communities, to work together, not only to prioritize where to target mitigation efforts but to be ready for post-fire recovery in the places that can’t be treated by enhancing overall forest and watershed resilience, and community adaptation to fire. Timing has never been better to partner to make our forests more resilient, our communities safer, and protect important water supplies. Thus, stakeholders throughout the southern extent of the Colorado Front Range Wildfire Crisis Strategy (WCS) Priority Landscape have been discussing the idea of creating a landscape scale collaborative or “Fireshed” similar to the Northern Colorado Fireshed (NOCO Fireshed) that has emerged to our north. Coalitions and Collaboratives, Inc. (COCO) has spearheaded the exploration of this opportunity and facilitated discussions around its structure with funding and support from the Pike – San Isabel National Forests & Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands (PSICC).

COCO began with stakeholder identification and analysis, which involved clarifying the need for the planning process, stakeholder identification, stakeholder mobilization, and stakeholder analysis. The details of this process are explained in the Survey and Interview Methods section below. The questions explored through the surveys and interviews focused on the past experiences of stakeholders working with the Pike National Forest and identifying their level of interest in collaboration moving forward in the near future. The findings from this stakeholder analysis are included in this report and contribute to some of the recommendations at the end of this report.

The COCO Team also worked closely with Pike National Forest leadership and staff to design a series of four facilitated stakeholder workshops (one per month over four months, July – Oct) as a mechanism for stakeholder participation and process to be used to arrive at some key recommendations for how to move forward included in this report.

Who We Are

What's Happening

Stakeholder Meetings

Project Contacts