Managing the impacts of growth in outdoor recreation
Chaffee County’s stunning landscapes and fantastic recreation opportunities contribute significantly to our quality of life. We highly value the natural beauty and local access to public lands, the main reason many of us choose to call Chaffee County home.
Recreation is growing at an estimated 15% per year as more people move here and the county is discovered as a recreation destination. Growth is an economic win but can bring negative impacts to the health of the land. Trash, human waste, broken tree limbs used for campfires, and trail erosion into waterways are evidence of the consumptive use, as are disrespectful and even dangerous behaviors such as abandoned smoldering campfires.
Colorado is expected to add 1.5 million new residents by 2030. The majority will move to Front Range metro areas that are only a two-hour drive away. The challenges associated with carrying capacity are likely to multiply, yet public lands are the backbone of our tourism economy that contributes a third of our economic product.
The Recreation in Balance program sustainably manages the impacts of growth to protect quality of life and the benefits of our recreation economy. Our program goals:
Volunteers monitor impacts
Help geotag impacts to natural resources and outdoor experiences with your smartphone!
Task Force brings solutions to recreation areas
Campfire ring deconstruction, signage to encourage better behavior, and waste management tackle immediate needs on public lands impacted by growth.
A future with sustainable recreation
About 60 community members from more than 30 groups are working to create the Chaffee Rec Plan, a long-term management strategy for Chaffee’s future.
“I want to engage and help us grow. Without being intentional and planning for recreation impacts, there could be some threats to our way of life.”
— Salida Recreation Director Diesel Post
Envision Recreation in Balance is driven by the community, including leaders from outdoor businesses, natural resource agencies, nonprofit organizations, local government and recreation enthusiasts.
- USFS Salida Ranger District
- Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA)
- Envision Chaffee County
- Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA)
- Bureau of Land Management
- Colorado Outfitters Association
- Colorado Parks and Wildlife
- County of Chaffee
- Noah’s Ark Whitewater Rafting & Adventure Co.
Engaged Stakeholder Groups
- Buena Vista Recreation Department
- Buena Vista Singletrack Coalition
- Buena Vista Trails Advisory Board
- Central Colorado Mountain Riders
- Chaffee County Office of Housing
- Colorado Fourteeners Initiative
- Colorado Mountain Club
- Colorado Off Road Enterprise
- Colorado Trail Foundation
- Continental Divide Trail Coalition
- Friends of Browns Canyon
- Friends of Fourmile
- local ranchers
- National Forest Foundation
- Quiet Use Coalition
- Salida Mountain Trails
- Sierra Club
- Skikers Hiking Club
- Southwest Conservation Corps
- Salida-area Parks Open Space & Trails (SPOT)
- Salida Recreation Advisory Board
- Town of Salida Recreation Department
- Trout Unlimited
- Upper Arkansas Wilderness Volunteers
- USFS Leadville Ranger District
- Western State Colorado University
- Wilderness Aware Rafting
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