News – Envision Accomplished!

Wildfire Treatment Priorities mapped for community

The Envision Fire and Healthy Landscapes Partnership is developing the Next Generation Community Wildfire Protection Plan to deliver solutions that reduce our overall wildfire risk. We’re using the most current info and new modeling technology to create Colorado’s leading forest health action plan! The plan explains risk posed by severe wildfire, prioritizes action to decrease that risk, and sets a course to improve forest health.

The plan will be published in February 2020 — for now we are making available the Fuel Treatment Priorities map that identifies areas to treat for the highest cost efficiency. These are based on the Composite Values at Risk that were identified by the community and leaders as the most important assets to protect from a large wildfire. You can view the Treatment Priority map in Google Earth by downloading a link here. Also read the Community Summary booklet we’ve produced that summarizes the new CWPP, which is still in production but slated to be signed in the coming weeks.

Stay tuned for more — thanks to everyone who took the Chaffee Wildfire Survey and attended our community meetings to develop the new plan!


Local ranchers describe top growth challenges in forum

Six local ranchers and about 40 Realtors and other residents attended a forum in November designed to help real estate professionals inform their clients about topics that are especially challenging the agricultural community as the county grows. 

On the panel were Art Hutchinson, Brady Everett, Natalie Allio, Andrew Richardson and Bruce Cogan. Ken McMurray participated from the audience. Together, they manage more than half of the county’s ranch lands. They said the cause of the mounting challenges is a general lack of understanding about rural living and unawareness about Right To Ranch topics among new rural landowners. “If we had your help communicating these issues to your clients that would be a huge help,” Richardson told the audience. Real estate agents offered suggestions about how they can share information, agreeing to distribute a new brochure that is being developed by the Central Colorado Conservancy. An accredited continuing education course also is in the works.

The forum was funded by a Greater Outdoors Colorado Excellence grant awarded to Central Colorado Conservancy for the Growing Good Neighbors program, which is one of 40 programs and projects developed through Envision’s community planning effort. To learn more about the Chaffee County Right To Ranch code, contact your local Realtor, visit chaffeecounty.org/Planning-and-Zoning-Land-Use-Code and click on Article 3, or send an email to [email protected]


Envision launches public lands monitoring tool

Photo by Scott Peterson / Chaffee County Visitors Bureau

Residents concerned about recreation growth are encouraged to sign up for an Envision Chaffee County project that lets volunteers monitor the impacts to natural resources and outdoor experiences. The Recreation Impacts Monitoring System (RIMS) was developed by the Colorado Mountain Club to map and monitor the county’s recreation system and sustainably manage it into the future.

RIMS includes a smartphone application that allows trained volunteers to record and geotag on-the-ground impacts within the county. This summer we focused on popular areas such as 14er trailheads, the Fourmile Recreation Area, Browns Creek and the Arkansas River corridor. To register for a training session go to cmc.org/app.


Envision tracks community satisfaction in survey

‘Sense of community’ ranks high; report outlines concern about growth changes

A community survey taken by more than 800 people has shown high satisfaction with quality of life in Chaffee County, along with apprehension about the future among some residents.

Envision Chaffee County administered the survey to track satisfaction with quality of life among residents as the county grows in population. “Sense of community” was identified during Envision’s planning phase as one of the most valued aspects of living here. Retaining the friendly, small-town character became one of the four “visions” of the project, specifically that “Our community remains friendly, engaged and culturally connected.”

Envision launched the Chaffee County Community Checkup (C4) survey in the fall of 2018 to track resident satisfaction by asking questions about participation in the community and the depth of connections among citizens. The C4 survey was offered online for six weeks and was completed by 848 people. 

Key findings were that Chaffee County residents are engaged in their community, connected to their neighbors, and feel recognized as community members. High overall satisfaction with quality of life was found: More than 70% of respondents said they were either “very satisfied” or “extremely satisfied” with their current quality of life and fewer than 7% were either not very satisfied or not at all satisfied.

The survey also identified apprehension about the future among some residents. About a quarter of respondents expressed strong concern about changes they see occurring. The remaining three-quarters were at least “somewhat satisfied” about changes. View the Summary Report  or download the full C4 report with all Appendixes.


Envision publishes wildfire survey report — While 80% of Chaffee Wildfire Survey respondents expect a major wildfire to happen in the next five years, local residents appear unprepared for it. Of more than a thousand people who took the survey, 40% said they do not have an evacuation plan and 44% have not registered for the county’s reverse-911 alert system.


What is ‘balanced’ rec? – Envision captured hundreds of thoughts and ideas during a public meeting introducing the program to balance recreation growth with natural resources health and quality outdoor experiences. Attendance reached nearly 100 people and dozens signed up to help create the program. Download a report summarizing the community input.


Envision’s Cindy Williams is Woman of the Year!

Envision Co-lead Cindy Williams was named the Salida Chamber Woman of the Year during the annual community awards in January. She was surprised at the announcement and thanked the community. “Chaffee County is a special; this is a community where people care more than any other place I’ve been in the world,” she said.

Commissioner Greg Felt called her a “Force of nature” in her work as Board President of the Central Colorado Conservancy to drive Envision’s successes, including the creation of the Chaffee County Community Foundation, the Chaffee Green sustainability group, and the passage of Ballot Issue 1A to support conservation work. The award is given for significant contributions to the community through professional and personal accomplishments. As President of the Central Colorado Conservancy, she works as a volunteer to Co-lead Envision Chaffee County.

“In a period of two years, from the initial concept of Envision to the present, Cindy has been a relentless and unstoppable advocate for the program and for the future of Chaffee County,” Felt said. “It simply would not have happened or been a success without her leadership, persistence, and vision.”


Envision Chaffee County releases Community Action Plan — With Envision’s plan completed, County Commissioner Greg Felt is impressed and somewhat in awe of people’s eagerness to participate in the process, which has advanced a total of 40 programs and projects to guide Chaffee County into the future. More …


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