PLNR-19-3-Guiding Principles: Forest and Watershed Health

WHEREAS Colorado has more than 24.4 million acres of forestland; and

WHEREAS many of these forests include the headwaters of rivers that provide reliable, affordable water supplies which are foundational to the environment, economy, and quality of life in rural Colorado; and

WHEREAS around 80% of the state’s water originates on the western side of the Continental Divide providing benefits for a balanced economy, that includes robust agriculture, natural resources development, outdoor industry/recreation, service sector, as well as municipal and industrial uses; and

WHEREAS many of our forests are unhealthy due to poor stand conditions from lack of forest management, long-term droughts and warming temperatures and variability due to climate change, therefore making them susceptible to catastrophic wildfire and insect and disease epidemics; as evidenced by over 3.4 million acres of Colorado’s forests have been impacted by mountain pine beetle and almost 1.8 million acres have been impacted by spruce beetle, causing wide-spread tree mortality; and

WHEREAS Healthy forests, achieved through active Forest management, reduces net carbon dioxide; and

WHEREAS forest fires are 4 times more frequent and larger than before 1987 and burn an average of 6 times more land per year, putting our forest headwaters and water supplies at risk; and acknowledging that between 2002 and 2018 over 2.7 million acres have burned in Colorado, severely degrading watersheds and costing millions in water infrastructure repairs; and

WHEREAS the Colorado Statewide Forest Resource Assessment of 2008 has identified 642 watersheds susceptible to damaging wildfire, and 371 forested watersheds with high to very high risk from post-fire erosion; and many of these watersheds, encompassing about 9.4 million acres of spruce-fir, aspen and pine forests contain critical infrastructure for municipal drinking water supplies; and

WHEREAS federal land management agency budgets have been severely cut over the past decade leaving many agencies without adequate resources to plan and implement forest management projects and manage the growing recreation industry;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Club 20 supports:

  • Proactive and long-term, landscape-scale sustained forest management strategies to adequately increase and restore the resiliency of all state, federal, and private lands to insects, disease, fire, and drought, and to rebuild degraded landscapes necessary to make the critical link between the health of our forests and the health of our watersheds as is supported in the Colorado Water Plan; and
  • Increased long-term funding and relevant agency support from local, state and federal agencies and entities that will achieve active forest management at a pace and scale that addresses the need and urgency of the forest health crisis; and
  • Utilizing all of the appropriate silviculture methods and forest management tools available, including pre-commercial thinning and salvage logging, to improve the long-term health and meet environmental and multiple use goals of the National Forests and other forested lands in Colorado; and
  • Adhering to public land management plans due to their landscape emphasis on the long-term condition of our forests and western landscapes, and the connection to the economic sustainability of local communities; and
  • Keeping lands designated for sustained timber management in forest management plans as suited and committing to actively managing these lands; and
  • Fully funding programs such as the Spruce Beetle Epidemic and Aspen Decline Management Response (SBEADMR) and similar forest health initiatives to increase pace and scale of forest management;
  • Recognizing the need from all types of Colorado forest product companies for a predictable, sustained, even-flow of wood supply should be a priority in planning vegetation management projects and allocating budgets; and
  • Integrating science based adaptive management, monitoring adhering to Best Management Practices (BMPs) on all forestry-related projects to proactively protect water quality and the environment.



Incorporates and replaces the following resolutions:

  • PLNR-16-1, Forest Management and Watershed Health
  • PLNR-97-5, Forest Health Goals
  • PLNR-13-1, Proactive Forest Management
  • PLNR-94-2, Timber, Salvage
  • PLNR-93-5, Ecosystem Management


Adopted 9/21/19


Resolution in PDF Format