Forests and Wildlife

elk herd

The White River National Forest is home to the world’s largest elk herd. Photo courtesy Todd Patrick.

Maintaining healthy, natural forests and wildlife – flora and fauna – is the ultimate goal of all our work.

An ecosystem with its full complement of biodiversity is far greater than the sum of its parts. As Aldo Leopold wrote: “If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.”

The chief threats to our local forests aren’t bark beetles and wildfire, but rather humans’  well-intended but misguided reactions to these natural disturbances. Likewise, it isn’t natural predators and diseases that endanger wildlife, it’s loss and fragmentation of their habitat.

This section of the website focuses on our efforts aimed at directly protecting forests and wildlife. See also the sections on oil and gas development and recreation, which have big impacts on forests and wildlife, and our habitat restoration program.

Beetles and wildfire
Through our participation in the Colorado Bark Beetle Cooperative and the hunter Smuggler Cooperative Plan we’re working to prevent unwise backcountry beetle and fire treatments, and to redirect efforts toward protecting communities and critical infrastructure. More…

Habitat protection
We scrutinize all proposed projects on public lands in our region – whether timber sales, mining operations, drilling applications or recreational development – with the goal of preventing disturbance and fragmentation of wildlife habitat. More…

Vail Pass wildlife bridge
With other regional partners, we secured federal funding for a feasibility study on a wildlife-only bridge over I-70, and we continue to advocate for this visionary project. More…