Supporting forests. Mitigating wildfire. Empowering people.

Scientific approach.

The focal point for 4 Rivers is the Animas, Florida, La Plata, and Pine watersheds, encompassing communities located in San Juan and La Plata Counties. Land ownership includes private, tribal, federal, state, and municipal.

Forest and watershed ecosystem management is a long-term endeavor influenced by historic, current and future conditions. The role of 4 Rivers is to position and support stakeholders in the region so they can effectively work toward forest and watershed resilience goals on the landscape in the context of their management responsibilities.

4 Rivers’ stakeholders are committed to creating a place-based effort that will invest time over years and decades via flexible response to community needs. The group will build capacity to withstand ebbs and flows of participation, funding, and resources in order to maximize sustained impact and desired outcomes.

There is a deep history of collaboration in the region, across counties, and throughout the San Juan Mountains and San Juan National Forest. Other established collaboratives addressing forest and watershed resilience include the Dolores Watershed Resilient Forest Collaborative, 2-3-2 Cohesive Strategy Partnership, and the San Juan Headwaters Forest Health Partnership. 4 Rivers completes the geographic jigsaw of collaborative efforts in the region and helps to fortify and position the region to work cohesively, leveraging resources and capacity to address the issues of forest and watershed resilience on a scale that can have meaningful impact for local communities.

Project Highlights.

Junction Creek Environmental Assessment

Junction  Creek and the Colorado Trail (CT) are very popular recreation areas near Durango, and the San Juan National Forest (SJNF) expects recreation use to increase. SJNF is exploring options to expand the parking lot at the trailhead of the Colorado Trail and make improvements to Junction Creek Road. Concurrently, SJNF has forest management objectives such as fuels reduction. The role of 4 Rivers is to help convene stakeholders, promote constructive dialogue, and engage with the community. The Environmental Assessment will explore possible options, allowing for public comments.

4 Rivers may pursue a “virtual tour” to provide a place for shared understanding and multiple perspectives and interests. See this example from the San Juan Headwaters Forest Health Partnership about Jackson Mountain.

Falls Creek Ranch Wood for Life

In October 2022, Falls Creek Ranch had a surplus of logs and large branches after residents harvested firewood. These weren’t straight enough or large enough for local mills or for Timber Age (a local wood products company), so Firewise Ambassador, Paulette Church, contacted the Shiprock Chapter House of the Navajo Nation to see if they needed any firewood for the winter. Tribal members from the Chapter House worked alongside Falls Creek Ranch volunteers, loading the firewood, then sharing Navajo tacos after the work was completed. Falls Creek plans to continue this partnership into the future, harvesting the wood earlier and drying it before winter.

Southwest Colorado Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration

The Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP), enabled by Congress, is designed to increase the resiliency of forests and watersheds in priority forests across the U.S. While the funds from the Forest Service are reserved for federal land, the project is intended to address all lands; private, state, and federal. The federal dollars are leveraged to secure funding for cross-boundary work which is facilitated by 4 Rivers, DWRF, SJHFHP, and others.

The project is in its infancy. Stay tuned for updates and more details.

Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative

RMRI is a regional funding mechanism in Colorado aimed at catalyzing on-the-ground work in key forested areas.

Grassy Mountain Shared Stewardship

The San Juan National Forest has worked with the Bureau of Land Management for NEPA planning and clearance. If all goes as planned, the clearance should happen by March 1st. For now, funding is in place for the project which will include a Wood For Life initiative, co-coordinated by the National Forest Foundation.

Stay tuned for more details, including information on an upcoming public meeting.