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Glenwood Canyon Restoration Alliance: New Collaboration Launches in Wake of Grizzly Creek Fire

Glenwood Canyon Restoration Alliance: New Collaboration Launches in Wake of Grizzly Creek Fire

Purpose of non-profit, government, and business partnership is to renew landscape and community
through collective action

Learn more at: https://www.gcrestorationalliance.org/

Although the Grizzly Creek Fire remains burning, the challenging work of landscape and community renewal begins today. The scale of wildfire damage,  combined with the importance of Glenwood Canyon locally, regionally, and nationally, means the  multi-year restoration project will be integral to ecology, to recreation, and to the collective  identity of Colorado. To spearhead this community effort, an umbrella partnership of non-profit,  government, and business has formed the Glenwood Canyon Restoration Alliance (GCRA).

The impact of the Grizzly Creek Fire will be both widespread and widely felt. Restoration efforts of the Canyon’s outdoor spaces will never precisely return the region to its prior aesthetic or ecological character, though a multi-year restoration campaign will assist in healing both  community and landscape by coordinating collective volunteer efforts.

Partners in Action

The partners in the GCRA include Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers (RFOV), the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, Visit Glenwood Springs (tourism department), the City of Glenwood Springs, and H20 Ventures. Created to promote the accessibility of local public lands, for 25 years RFOV has empowered both individuals and groups to restore the Roaring Fork Valley’s wetlands, burn areas, and trail networks. The Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, along with its tourism department, Visit Glenwood Springs, is the official business and tourism bureau of Glenwood Springs, Colorado, located at the scenic junction of the Colorado and Roaring Fork Rivers. The City of Glenwood Springs, seat of Garfield County, is the gateway to the outdoors mecca of the Roaring Fork Valley. H20 Ventures operates the permitting & shuttle system of picturesque Hanging Lake for the United States Forest Service.  Hiking permits are sold on the official tourism site of Glenwood Springs, VisitGlenwood.com.

Crucial to the ongoing success of RFOV is the inclusion of volunteers of any age, background, or skill level. “All of us have the opportunity to be stewards of our public lands”, notes RFOV  Executive Director Ron Rash, “That is what is truly rewarding.” In this spirit, the Glenwood Canyon  Restoration Alliance will welcome individuals, members of local civic organizations, faith groups,  and businesses to participate in restoration projects.

Now for the Future

To prepare for restoration efforts, H20 Ventures has already dedicated a fund for the recovery of  Hanging Lake. A percentage of non-cancelled permit reservations will be remitted to the City of  Glenwood Springs for use in professional and volunteer restoration of the Hanging Lake recreation area.

Before we can act, however, risk assessment and mitigation are necessary. These processes will be conducted by the US Forest Service, Colorado Department of Transportation, and affiliate partners. For this reason, any GCRA projects in the burn area will occur in summer, 2021 at the earliest. Nonetheless, it is important to engage the broader Glenwood Canyon community now in order to  maximize transparency and involvement in eventual trail-restoration and habitat-restoration.

Sustained community action has built the trails at Hanging Lake and Glenwood Canyon, step by step, trail by trail, year by year. The GCRA believes that it is sustained community-action that will once again prove vital to the next chapter of Glenwood Canyon.