Friends of the Dillon Ranger District

A nonprofit organization

$37,091 raised by 184 donors

100% complete

$30,000 Goal

Give back to your local forest.

The White River National Forest (WRNF) is the most visited recreation forest in the nation with 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. 

FDRD works closely with the Dillon Ranger District 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) 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. 


Objectives for 2024:

Your support will allow FDRD to expand the following programs:

  1. FDRD Educational Programs - Friends of the Dillon Ranger District is looking to improve and enhance the quality, quantity and diversity of our educational programming by installing new initiatives such as: a Speaker Series on local conservation and recreation issues; a wider variety of educational tours in the local area with topics including watershed health, geology, local flora and fauna, local history, and interpretive presentations about the way we as humans interact with our environment and surroundings; partnering with the local high school to educate and instill stewardship and conservation in the next generation.
  2. Youth Forest Stewards - In the fourth season of YFS, we intend to continue diversifying our programs, offering leadership + career development opportunities, in addition to offering a resumé building workshop for the high school participants.
  3.  Increased focus on the local watershed - Along with the USFS fisheries crew, we will offer programs which will provide an opportunity for middle school and high school aged kids to explore the underwater ecosystem.  As we focus more on maintaining the health of local watersheds, we will work with other nonprofits to collect data around the Blue River watershed.
  4. Volunteer Chainsaw Program - New in summer 2024, we plan to train volunteers to help contribute to the clearing of downed trees on USFS trails on the Dillon Ranger District. This program will support the USFS trail crew in tree clearing early season and throughout the season as needed.  Funds will support new equipment,volunteer PPE, and training.
  5.  West Ridge Bridge Construction - This 8-10 day project will involve construction of a 20 ft bridge, 36 ft of turnpike and drainage dips.  This project will improve the local watershed and increase sustainability of the West Ridge Trail.  We plan to engage 8-10 different community partners to participate in this project work.

Mission

FDRD's fundamental mission is to partner with the White River National Forest's Dillon Ranger District in Summit County, CO to provide inclusive 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 and promote sustainable forest health, promote watershed restoration and perform other services to maintain and improve the Dillon Ranger District

• Developing and maintaining collaborative partnerships between the Forest Service and a diverse population, including local organizations, stakeholders, individuals and users of the local National Forest lands.

• Creating excellent educational programs for our visitors, residents and youth to promote, protect and preserve our National Forest.

Testimonials

“I have been working as a United States Forest Service (USFS) employee with the Friends of the Dillon Ranger District (FDRD) since the organization’s inception 18 years ago! FDRD has become vital to the success of the Dillon RD Recreation program. Without their tireless support and on-the-ground work, the world class recreation experience we have all come to love on USFS land within Summit County would not be possible!”

-Tyler Kirkpatrick – Trails, Wilderness, Motorized Recreation Manager – White River National Forest, Dillon Ranger District

"Friends of the Dillon Ranger District (FDRD) plays a vital role in Summit County, not only by engaging in trail maintenance and education but also by fostering a sense of community and volunteerism within our residents. Every summer, FDRD brings together volunteers from both across the community and within various groups for its trail days. Employees at Breckenridge Grand Vacations are fortunate to participate in volunteer opportunities facilitated by FDRD. FDRD trail days allow employees to not only strengthen their personal relationships but also to contribute their volunteer time and efforts in Summit County’s incredible outdoor space."

-Tara Dew - BGV Gives Program Manager - Breckenridge Grand Vacations

"FDRD provides a unique opportunity for us volunteers to play a role in sustaining the many elements that we all delight in using, but that would otherwise fall into disrepair because of overuse or inattention. It is no surprise that projects fill up quickly with volunteers. Whether it be trail maintenance, thinning trees, removing noxious weeds or barbed wire in our open spaces, each project leaves you feeling like you made a little difference while enjoying the camaraderie of like-minded community members. It’s just plain fun to get your hands dirty out there, even if you get weirdly fanatical about stalking noxious thistles after the weed pull!"

-Christine Weber, FDRD Volunteer

"After retiring and moving permanently to Summit County in 2019, FDRD was one of the first organizations we joined and committed to supporting both financially and as volunteers. We enjoy serving on the Ranger Patrol, which allows us to meet and interact with visitors from all over the country, sharing with them all the amazing trails, flora and fauna that can be found here. Volunteering at the Dillon Farmers' Market offers that same opportunity to interact with others. Bill really enjoys working on the very well-organized trail maintenance projects. We both appreciate the guided educational hikes and experiences that are offered throughout the year as well as the social events that allow us to interact with so many other supporters of FDRD!"

-Bill & Lee Ann Hieber, FDRD Volunteers

Background Statement

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, CO, which more or less mirrors the border of 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 falling off the pace. The lands managed by the Dillon Ranger District have been heavily impacted by the mountain pine beetle epidemic and in turn, wildfire hazard. A significant amount of monetary resources have been reallocated within the Rocky Mountain Region to help address immediate needs such as fuels reduction and hazard tree removal and this funding challenge makes successful partnerships with individuals and organizations particularly critical.

FDRD works closely with the Dillon Ranger District 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 countless miles of trail

- performed fire mitigation and restoration throughout the district

- removed invasive weeds and plants

- improved local wildlife habitat

- removed litter and recycling from the forest

- contacted over 250,000 visitors through outreach education and volunteer ranger patrols.

Our efforts have resulted in over 300,000 volunteer hours and over $2,500,000 of in-kind value leveraged on our National Forest lands.

Organization Data

Summary

Organization name

Friends of the Dillon Ranger District

other names

FDRD

Year Established

2005

Tax id (EIN)

20-2343008

Category

Environment, Philanthropy, Voluntarism & Grantmaking Foundations, Recreation & Sports, Community Improvement & Capacity Building

Organization Size

Medium Organization

Address

680 Blue River Parkway
Silverthorne, CO 80498

Mailing

PO Box 1648
Silverthorne, CO 80498

Service areas

Summit County, CO, US

Phone

970-262-3449

Fax

970-468-7735

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