Chaffee Recreation Council outlines progress toward implementing Chaffee County Outdoor Recreation Management Plan
The Chaffee Rec Council shares its 2023 Annual Report to the Community, highlighting progress toward implementing the 2021 Chaffee Rec Plan.
“Working together under the county plan is helping to address concerns about the impacts of over-use on all lands, from Wilderness Areas to trails systems to dispersed camping to town parks,” said Chuck Cichowitz, an active backcountry guide for 40 years and member of the Council. “The level of collaboration among outdoor-related groups and entities is improving as we focus on achieving strategies that help manage fast-paced growth.”
The Chaffee Rec Plan was approved in June 2021 by the County Planning Commission and incorporated into the County Comprehensive Plan. Goals are to protect natural resources, maintain exceptional outdoor experiences, and sustain the economic benefits of tourism as population and visitation grow.
Strategies involve new infrastructure such as restrooms, trash disposal and designated campsites; improving the trails system; adding more education, enforcement and volunteer stewardship; ensuring equitable access to the outdoors; and protecting natural resources, especially by supporting wildlife habitat and agricultural operations.
The report, created by Envision Chaffee County for the Council, outlines these major achievements:
- Adding 16 new recreation management staff
- Providing 25 temporary restrooms
- Adding 2 dozen wildfire danger signs
- Removing 25,000 pounds of trash and ash from campsites
- Improving 7 trails
- Building 2 new trails
- Funding 7 wildlife habitat projects
- Raising $7.4 million
Chaffee County’s approach to managing growing visitation has become a model for communities facing similar challenges across the state, especially through the Colorado Outdoor Regional Partnerships Initiative, which is supported by Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO). Partners are working with Lake and Gunnison counties to expand wildlife habitat modeling across county borders, and they are involved in a statewide initiative to sustainably manage the popularity of hiking Colorado’s Fourteeners.
The community is invited to get involved by attending Recreation Taskforce meetings, held every other month on the first Tuesday. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
The report concludes that, while progress is happening, continued growth in visitation presents challenges, especially in the areas of waste management, dispersed camping implementation and the need for more funding.