The Chaffee Treats Forest Health and Wildfire Mitigation Program is a local partnership dedicated to helping private landowners take action to reduce wildfire risk and restore forest health on their properties.
Right now, we are offering a free forester consultation and forest management plan to landowners located in the Treatment Priority Areas.
These are no-cost, no-obligation
opportunities for landowners to explore options that can will protect their homes and reduce fire risk to the community.
Click here to connect with our team, learn more about these offers, and add your property to our sign-up list.
The Best Defense is a Good Offense
By taking action to improve the health of your forested property, you can help make Chaffee County safer before the next wildfire.
Wildfire has become an increasing risk of living within Colorado’s beautiful forested
landscapes. There are ways we can protect ourselves and minimize the potential for
catastrophic losses. Through forest mitigation projects that thin unhealthy stands of
trees, we can defend our lands from wildfire as well as insects and disease, while
improving forest health for wildlife and future generations.
Click here to learn more about Chaffee County’s leading-edge Community Wildfire Protection Plan that advances multi-jurisdictional treatments, helping residents better prepare for wildfire.
What to Expect: An Overview of the Forest Management Process
STEP 1: Be Part of the Solution
Interested in learning about forest management opportunities for your land? Connect with the Chaffee Treats team today to talk with one of our experts about treatment options and financial assistance available for your property.
STEP 2: Property Visit
Before we jump into any paperwork, one of our foresters will set up an initial consultation with you on your property. During this consultation, the forester will walk your property with you and discuss treatment options that meet your management goals. The forester will also initiate a discussion about financial assistance tools that are available for your property to help cover treatment costs.
STEP 3: Documentation
If you decide that you’re interested in moving forward with a forest management treatment project on your property, one of our foresters will work with you to develop a tailored forest management plan that meets your goals. Once you have a management plan in-hand, our team will guide you through the rest of the process.
STEP 4: Project Implementation
Now it’s time to implement your treatment project. During this stage, our team will coordinate with you and the contractors to make sure that the treatments meet the goals outlined in your management plan. After the treatment project is completed, we will stay in touch with you to address any outstanding questions and review maintenance recommendations.
Meet Our Foresters
Colorado State Forest Service
J.T. Shaver is the Lead Forester with the Colorado State Forest Service, based in Salida. Through the Chaffee Treats program, JT will facilitate the implementation of the projects within the treatment priority areas. JT started his career with the Colorado State Forest in 2011 as a seasonal for the Montrose office, working the summers between college. After graduation, he worked for the CSFS Gunnison office and in 2018 crossed the continental divide to Salida. Since 2018, JT has called the Arkansas Valley home, where he enjoys mornings on the river and being on the golf course in the afternoon.
Mercedes Siegle-Gaither is a CSFS forester in Salida. Through the Chaffee Treats program, Mercedes works with landowners in the Mesa Antero and Mt. Princeton treatment priority areas. Prior to working for CSFS, Mercedes worked for the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture as an Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator. There, she obtained her International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist Certification before returning to Colorado to work as a Wildlife Biology Technician for the Southwest Conservation Corps and Bureau of Land Management. During 2020, she was based in Pagosa Springs as a CSFS Forester working with the same program. When she’s not cruising the forests, she’s probably running around the mountains, literally.
Kellie Eldridge is a Colorado State Forest Service forester based in Salida. Through the Chaffee Treats program, Kellie works with landowners along the Shavano Front, Cochetopa Creek, Cedar Ridge, and Chalk Creek. Kellie previously worked in northern Wisconsin as a Forestry Technician on research projects with the Wisconsin DNR. Prior to Wisconsin, she worked as a Forester with the Mississippi Forestry Commission on the Forest, Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program, where she obtained her Registered Forester’s License. Whenever she’s not working, Kellie likes to go hiking and bike riding.
To learn more about the funding that supports our Chaffee Treats offers for local landowners, click here.