Citizens, business owners, user-group reps, land management agency personnel and many others are working to map and monitor the county’s recreation system and create a plan to manage it sustainably in the future. Significant community support has been generated for the Envision Recreation in Balance Program through a shared passion for outdoor recreation
“There’s a lot of energy and ownership around the recreation impacts going on, including a desired outcome for resource protection,” said Leadership Team Member Chuck Cichowitz, a business owner.
The program includes a smartphone app that records big campfire rings, human waste, trash and sedimentation at popular dispersed camping areas. Hundreds of volunteers have collected info on their cellphones, helping to define where work needs to take place to address problem areas.
Recreation in Balance leadership partners include the U.S. Forest Service, Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA) and Envision Chaffee County, working with dozens of community members to maintain healthy public lands, quality user experiences and the economic benefits of our tourism economy. The Chaffee Recreation Plan developed through the program uses leading-edge computer modeling techniques as well as community outreach to create a long-term management strategy to be included in the Chaffee County Comprehensive Plan.
Common Ground revenues support this work, such as new visitor education and on-the-ground stewardship. $80K was awarded to Southwest Conservation Corps in 2020 to thin high-density areas of lodgepole pine, construct containment fencing around dispersed campsites, dismantle fire-rings, and close off sensitive areas to allow for revegetation.
Read more Stories of Impact from Chaffee Common Ground.