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As Chaffee County gears up for summer and more people get vaccinated, this season is shaping up to be busy for those looking to recreate here as well. A new plan will put “Rec Rangers” in charge of making sure they do it in an environmentally supportive way.

During Salida City Council’s work session on May 17, Cindy Williams with Envision Chaffee County, Director of Parks and Recreation, Diesel Post and United States Forest Service Salida District Ranger Jim Pitts updated the Salida City Council on the Chaffee County Recreation Plan.

The Solice trail. Image courtesy of Singletracks.

The community will be able to provide feedback starting Friday May 21 on the plan and in the coming months, the finalized version of the Recreation Plan will be adopted. City Council expressed concerns for this summer season and Mayor P.T. Wood asked what could be utilized this summer as we head into the busy season.

Pitts explained that they plan to implement multiple programs.  Chaffee “Rec Rangers” will monitor, clean up and enforce the rules. The Forest Service was also able to add additional seasonal workers to this team. This program is modeled after the “Adopt a Trail Program.”

The Chaffee Rec Rangers concept is a collaborative program with community, USFS and BLM funding.  It will place two USFS Forest Protection Officers and two BLM staff on the ground in Chaffee County this summer. The Rangers will provide education and enforcement and help identify and clean up problem areas to provide clean, low impact camping experiences.

The Rec Rangers program will be closely coordinated with Chaffee Rec Adopters.  The Adopters program offers citizens an opportunity to get involved to help monitor and steward dispersed campsites across the county.  To sign up, people should contact

The USFS has also just hired a Law Enforcement Officer for the Salida Ranger District.  That person is in training, and will be patrolling the area by mid-summer, directly supporting enforcement.

Unsplash photo by Tegan Mierle

The Chaffee Front Country Fire Protection program will also start this summer. This program puts more “boots on the ground”, with Chaffee County Fire putting staff in the field to provide education on safe campfires and current fire restrictions to folks camping along county roads.

“Next summer you’ll even see more management efforts as well as additional regulations to guide folks where to recreate and how to do it responsibly,” said Pitts.

The Chaffee County Visitors Bureau has also created the “Adventure by Nature Pledge” which helps protect and preserve our home and public lands by recreating responsibly in the outdoors. Supporting this pledge allows future generations the ability to enjoy it just as each of us does today. The pledge states that while traveling in Buena Vista and Salida those recreating will:

  • Stay on the trail
  • Be respectful
  • Recreate Responsibly
  • Leave No Trace

Those who take the  pledge receive a free Discovery Pass. Click here to learn more.