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NoCo Fireshed Members Lead Congressional Staff Field Trip to the Clear Creek & Boulder Ranger Districts

September 7, 2023

Last week, members of the Northern Colorado Fireshed Collaborative helped lead congressional staffers on a field trip to the Clear Creek and Boulder Ranger Districts within the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forests. The multi-day tour touched on many issues that impact public and private lands within the Fireshed boundary, including the Wildfire Crisis Strategy, recreation, prescribed fire, Farm Bill housing authority, the Great American Outdoors Act and mixed land-use issues.

Chiara Forrester, Forest Program Manager with The Watershed Center, speaks to the group about working with private landowners and building the St. Vrain Forest Health Partnership.

At the Forsythe Canyon Trailhead, Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grasslands Forest Supervisor Monte Williams, Rocky Mountain Research Station Research Ecologists Matt Thompson and Chuck Rhoades, Community Connected Partners Chiara Forrester and Maya McHamer, and Ch’aska Huayhuaca with the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute, discussed implementation of the Wildfire Crisis Strategy, tactics and tools being used with the Wildfire Crisis Strategy, and how the Forest is connecting with key partners. In addition, presenters touched on how science and the use of planning areas called PODs are being used in fuel treatment work designed to protect key watersheds and water supplies vital to communities and ecosystems.

The NoCo Fireshed is within a “high risk” fireshed as identified by the U.S. Forest Service Wildfire Crisis Strategy. The “Confronting the Wildfire Crisis Strategy” report states, “By targeting the source of exposure in these specific areas and working with partners and stakeholders to set common goals across shared landscapes, strategic fuels management projects can reduce wildfire impacts not only on homes and communities but also on air quality, municipal watersheds, wildlife habitat, and other values at risk.”

Elected officials represented at this tour included Sen. Bennet (D-CO), Sen. Boozman (R-AR), Sen. Warnock (D-GA), Sen. Hawley (R-MO), Sen. Daines (R-MT), Sen. Hickenlooper (D-CO), Rep. Kelly (R-MS-1), Rep. Stauber (R-MN-8), Rep. Leger-Fernancez’s (D-NM-3), and Rep. Boebert (R-CO-3).