Cooperatove Conservation Project

Culebra Range Community Coalition

Community Driven Forest Health Restoration

Location: South-Central/South-West Region: Colorado

Project Summary: The Coalition works with a broad base of community partners to restore forest health, improve wildlife habitat, reduce risk of unnatural fire, and facilitate small diameter timber based businesses.
Click for Full Size
Anya Byers - The Nature Conservancy
Resource Challenge

Due to one hundred years of fire suppression, the forests of the Purgatoire River Watershed have become overgrown and are at risk of sustaining a catastrophic wildfire that would destroy the forests that give the area the scenic and biologic diversity that makes it so unique.  Fires have burned in an unnatural way in the past few years and have caused major problems with soil erosion, habitat destruction, and aspen regeneration.

The solution to this problem is relatively simple, but funding it is not.  In order to return the forest to their natural condition, they must be thinned to remove the smaller trees and to increase the space between trees. Because the of the low market value of this timber, the cost of harvesting is higher than can be recovered by selling the timber. This cost multiplied over many thousands of acres can be prohibitive, so just paying for it is not an option for a private land owner or public agency.

Our Challenge is two-fold:

  1. Increase the harvesting efficiency and complete utilization of small diameter timber and,
  2. Attract new small diameter businesses to the area to improve market opportunities.



Examples of Key Partners
Private Landowners and land managers, Colorado Division Of Wildlife, Colorado State Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Stonewall Fire Department, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, local governments and private industry.
Results and Accomplishments

The CRCC has had many accomplishments.  We have:

  • Raised over $45,000 to perform an inventory of the forest resources in the area as an aid to attract businesses that can use the timber that is available. 
  • Held three annual forest health education workshops to educate the general public and policy makers about Forest Health issues.
  • Attracted a business that uses small diameter timber to the area.
  • Completed a fire history study for Ponderosa pine to understand the natural role of fire in the forests.

The Culebra Range Community Coalition has successfully combined the interests of private landowners and public/private organizations in order to achieve common goals.

Project Contact
Tom Perry
Culebra Range Community Coalition
6614 State Highway 12
Weston, CO 81091


To request additions or corrections to this case study email the Administrator