FDRD's Mission is to partner with the White River National Forest's Dillon Ranger District in Summit County to provide opportunities for the community to play a more active role in the sustainable management of the local forest and to enhance the experiences of all who recreate here by:
• Conducting high quality projects to build and maintain trails, plant new trees, promote watershed restoration and perform other services to sustain the Dillon Ranger District
• Developing and maintaining collaborative partnerships between the Forest Service and a diverse group of local organizations, stakeholders, individuals and users of the National Forest lands
• Creating excellent educational programs for our visitors, residents and youth to promote, protect and preserve our National Forest
The White River National Forest (WRNF) is the most visited recreation forest in the nation with over 10.3 million user days - more visitors than Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, and Rocky Mountain National Parks combined. Approximately half of these WRNF recreation days occur in Summit County, which is encompassed by the Dillon Ranger District (DRD). These public lands sustain our local economy, comprise one of the most critical watersheds in the Western United States, and benefit millions of people who engage in healthful exercise in the WRNF. While these user days are increasing, funding for on-the-ground projects tied to recreation is not keeping pace. The lands managed by the DRD have been heavily impacted by the mountain pine beetle epidemic, and a significant amount of budgetary resources have been reallocated within the Rocky Mountain Region to help address immediate needs such as fuels reduction and hazard tree removal. This funding challenge makes successful partnerships with individuals and organizations particularly critical.
FDRD works closely with the DRD to help reverse the declining condition of our local National Forest lands through positive community engagement and active stewardship. FDRD began as a group of local citizens who began collaborating with the USDA Forest Service, Dillon Ranger District (DRD), in 2004 to provide opportunities for community members to play a more active role in the sustainable management of our local National Forest lands. Our programs have grown steadily in response to a high level of demand for organized, effective outdoor stewardship projects.
Since 2005, FDRD's volunteers have maintained and improved over 120 miles of trail, performed fire mitigation and restoration on over 75 acres, removed invasive weeds on over 100 acres, removed over 4.9 miles of obsolete barbed wire fence, removed over 8500 bags of litter and recycling from the forest, and contacted over 70,000 visitors through outreach education and volunteer ranger patrols. Our efforts have resulted in over 100,000 volunteer hours and over $1,900,000 of in-kind value leveraged for our National Forest lands. In 2010, FDRD received the Volunteer Program of the Year award from the National Office of the US Forest Service. This honor was due to the incredible energy of our volunteers and partners that has driven our programs from FDRD's inception.
"Working with FDRD within our youth programs has provided a learning opportunity about our natural environment, knowledge about the importance of trail maintenance, and of course fun for our campers. The Town of Frisco loves working with FDRD-our kids learn the value of community service!"-Sara Skinner, Recreation Programs Coordinator for the Town of Frisco.
"Through our partnership with FDRD we have been able in introduce local youth to the importance and pride of land stewardship. We are incredibly excited to expand our partnership with FDRD this year and start offering service learning opportunities for the youth we serve over the winter months as well." - Joan Dieter, Program Director for SOS Outreach
"I've been associated with FDRD for the past 9 years and watched the organization grow from a couple of part time employees emphasizing trail maintenance, to an organization with 4 full time employees and robust programs encompassing so much more than just trail maintenance. Thanks to an energetic staff and great Board support, FDRD now offers a wide range of programs focused on both youth and adults; educational summer hikes and winter snowshoe hikes with experts in forestry, geology, history, and others; a guest speaker series aimed at further educating the public on topics like the beetle kill, fire prevention, and other timely topics; and coordination and cooperation with a wide range of other nonprofits like Wildlands Restoration and the Colorado 14er Initiative to further our mission of forest stewardship." - Wayne Haley, Past President of FDRD Board of Directors