DENVER, Colo. — The USDA Forest Service announced yesterday the investment of more than $1.3 million of Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) projects with funding authorized by Congress under the Great American Outdoors Act. These projects will conserve critical forest and wetland habitat, support rural economic recovery and increase public access in the Rocky Mountain Region. The initial $1.3 million investment for administration will provide support toward purchases of critical inholding areas, recreational access projects, and core acquisition projects across the Rocky Mountain Region at Sweetwater Lake on the White River National Forest, Little Rock Creek on the Shoshone National Forest, Wabash Springs on the Black Hills National Forest and Sand Creek on the Nebraska National Forest.
“These access projects will benefit hunters, anglers, and other recreationists across the Rocky Mountain Region by providing visitors with improved access to public lands and protecting critical wildlife habitat,” said Tammy Angel, acting regional forester.
The Forest Service administers two LWCF programs – the Forest Legacy Program (FLP) and the Land Acquisition Program. Together, these programs conserve critical and strategic lands across the nation’s forests on both private and public lands.
The FLP is a conservation program administered by the U.S. Forest Service in partnership with state agencies to encourage the protection of privately owned forest lands through conservation easements or land purchases.
The Land Acquisition Program was enacted by Congress to create parks and open spaces; protect wilderness, wetlands, and refuges; preserve wildlife habitat; and enhance recreational opportunities.
In total, the Forest Service will invest more than $94 million nationwide to fund 28 projects under the FLP, and $123 million to fund Land Acquisition Program projects, including projects for recreation access and other purposes.
By Sophie Quinton
RUSTIC, Colo. — Tramping over a charred mountainside here one foggy morning, Matt Champa glowed with satisfaction. “Deer and elk will love this,” said the U.S. Forest Service “burn boss,” gesturing to a cluster of blackened trees that eventually will fall and create more space for forage plants.
Champa and his team set fire to this area last month, part of the 1,900-acre Pingree Hill prescribed burn on the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland to improve wildlife habitat and create space that firefighters could use to defend nearby residents and the Cache la Poudre River from a wildfire.
The Forest Service and its partners hope over the next decade to carry out a series of such prescribed burns in Northern Colorado to protect communities and the river, which supplies water to about 300,000 people.
Public and private landowners across the West are increasingly using prescribed fire to reduce wildfire danger. Over 3 million acres were treated with prescribed fire in Western states in 2017, up from the roughly 2 million in 2011, according to a survey by the National Association of State Foresters and the Coalition of Prescribed Fire Councils Inc.