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The Chaffee Recreation Council has put out a survey for residents of—and visitors to—Chaffee County to voice their opinions on recreation in the Arkansas River valley. The survey should only take 10 or so minutes to complete, and it will help the Chaffee Recreation Council focus its efforts on improving recreation across the county in the coming years.

To take the survey, click this link.

The Chaffee Recreation Council, organized in conjunction with Envision Chaffee County, is a coalition of recreational businesses, stewardship/conservation groups, landowners, and other stakeholders in the recreational economy that sustains many a Chaffee County resident’s love for the area.

The recreation council and its members are largely responsible for not only the maintenance of recreational spaces in Chaffee County, but they also play an instrumental role in focusing and managing growth in the county as it impacts our environment and recreational opportunities.

The council has put out surveys similar to this one in the past. According to Envision’s Program Director, Kim Marquis, in a pre-COVID survey, the recreation council found that a number of residents were becoming somewhat unhappy with growth’s impact on their recreational experience.

Per the 2020 survey: “80 percent of residents and half of the visitors say local forest and wildlife health has degraded over time, citing “overuse,” and “irresponsible use” as the top reasons.”

The findings from this survey helped inform Envision’s 2021 “Chaffee County Outdoor Recreation Management Plan,” designed to “maintain healthy public lands, the quality of outdoor experiences, and the economic benefits of recreation tourism.”

In other words, the plan aims to “Keep it [outdoor recreation] clean, fun, wild and going.” A goal which couldn’t be achieved without knowing how best to accommodate residents and tourists alike. Without directly engaging with the users of the recreational areas under the Recreation Council’s purview, how could they effectively set up a to-do list?

Going forward, Envision Chaffee County, alongside organizations like the National Forest Foundation and trail stewardship outfits like Salida Mountain Trails are working on a “Trails System and Conservation Plan.” The plan will be a long term, case-adjustable management plan for trails all over the county, designed to fortify and even redesign existing trails so as to maximize their potential over the coming decades of use.

The survey will likely be a great aid to the recreation planners as they hammer out the trails plan and also continue instituting 2021 recreation management plans. If you love the outdoors in Chaffee County and want to voice your opinions on how it could be improved, please take some time out of your day and click this link.

To see Envision Chaffee County’s annual update on recreation in the county, click here. Or watch a short video summarizing their 2023 recreation report here.