Wildfire and Forest Health

The Greater Southern Rockies encompasses the mountains, plains, and plateau ecosystems of Colorado and southern Wyoming. There remain roughly six million acres of unprotected roadless public lands and forests that sustain biologically diverse ecosystems, core habitat areas, and critical wildlife corridors. These wildlands are under assault by continuing efforts to commercially log, build roads, and drill in these last great places. The region’s rapid population growth, with the attendant increase in unplanned development and recreational use, presents another significant management challenge. These threats imperil the wildness and biodiversity of the ecoregion.

SRCA’s Wildfire, Forests and Roadless Protection Committee is working to address these problems by:

  • Protecting the wildlands character of remaining national forest roadless areas in the Greater Southern Rockies through administrative policies, such as forest planning, and eventually through wilderness designation for deserving lands;
  • Preserving the region’s roadless areas by selectively challenging ecologically damaging timber sales, growing off-road vehicle use, oil and gas drilling, and other degrading projects; and
  • Restoring the natural conditions and processes across the landscape by working to protect and restore viable populations of native species, and to return and perpetuate natural processes such as wildfire, where appropriate.

In order to develop and achieve our vision of a network of protected wildlands we have:

  • Researched and mapped all of the remaining unprotected roadless areas in the Southern Rockies;
  • Mobilized public support for securing roadless area protections in revisions of forest management plans – most recently for the two million acres of the White River National Forest and in defense of the national Roadless Area Conservation Rule;
  • Stopped damaging and ill-conceived roadless area timber sales; and
  • Increased the capacity of citizen activists by establishing community forest protection groups in areas where they were absent.

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