Forest Watch Campaign
Our Forest Watch Campaign monitors forestry practices and forest management across Colorado. We keep a close watch on National Forest lands, which cover about 14 million acres in Colorado, nearly a quarter of the state. We focus on maintaining resilient forests and protecting rare wildlife species such as lynx, roadless areas, old growth forests, rare plants, riparian areas, and intact watersheds.
We monitor and educate the public about proposed projects on all seven of our state’s National Forests, and work to modify the ones that could degrade ecological values. This includes so-called “forest health” projects, which are often thinly disguised commercial logging projects that propose to cut more than is needed to protect homes and infrastructure. Rocky Mountain Wild continues a multi-year effort to steer Forest Service projects towards targeted, science-based actions that will help protect communities and forests without sacrificing water quality and wildlife. By building relationships with diverse stakeholders, bringing ecological science into the dialogue, and capitalizing on the situation posed by dwindling federal budgets, we have made substantial progress in the last year.
We take the lead in Colorado on responding to major proposed Federal regulations and policy changes that could effect protection of important resources. See our comments on the Forest Service’s planning rule and the latest version of the proposed Colorado Roadless Rule.
We monitor implementation of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program, under which the Forest Service has let contracts for logging large areas of unnaturally dense, fire-prone stands along Colorado’s Front Range and the Uncompahgre Plateau on the West Slope. Unfortunately, the program got off to a bad start in late 2010 when the Forest Service approved cutting of one of the few remaining old growth ponderosa pine stands on the Front Range, even though the agency had told the public that mainly small diameter trees would be cut.