In October 2023, we were able to present our 4-year research on collaborative stewardship to an audience of land management professionals at the Colorado Open Space Alliance Conference in Snowmass Village, Colorado.
Below is the video of our presentation, a summary of the discussion, and links to our collaborative stewardship resources. Please feel free to download, use, and share these.
Our presentation at COSA 2023 covered several main topics related to collaborative stewardship between land management agencies in the Aspen area.
Key points include:
Many agencies like the National Forest Service, National Park Service, BLM, city parks departments, and county open space departments manage interconnected lands and trails in the Aspen area. This creates challenges around consistent regulations, maintenance, enforcement, and messaging across boundaries.
Representatives from Pitkin County Open Space and Trails and the City of Aspen Parks discussed their close collaboration in managing overlapping areas like the 42-mile Rio Grande Trail. They coordinate training, enforcement, maintenance, communications, data sharing, and messaging to provide seamless management.
Challenges remain in collaboration, like differences in e-bike regulations between Aspen City and Pitkin County sections of the Rio Grande Trail. However, communication between agencies helps align policies when possible.- Tools like shared radio channels, joint training, aligned regulations, and shared data platforms (like Ranger Mobile and Outway) enable seamless operations between Pitkin and Aspen.
Presenters discussed the value of a 'community mindset' in land management, paying attention to shared assets, visitors, and priorities and finding ways to leverage knowledge and resources across agency boundaries.
A stakeholder mapping exercise was used to illustrate the complex networks between land managers, partners, visitors, and community groups. Better understanding these connections helps agencies evaluate opportunities for collaboration.- Discussion touched on challenges of getting field knowledge up to decision-makers like boards and directors. Solutions like monthly meetings, 'toolbox talks,’ and email summaries can help ensure field conditions inform policy decisions.
Participants shared examples of successful collaboration with the BLM, Forest Service, neighboring cities, and counties in areas like river enforcement, trail maintenance, hunting access, and visitor messaging.
In summary, the session focused on practical ways land managers can adopt a collaborative stewardship mindset, leverage networks, and share knowledge and resources to care for interconnected lands and better serve visitors.
To read a high-level summary of the research we presented at COSA, click here.
Download our collaborative stewardship resources below.