San Juan Mountains Association

A nonprofit organization

$10,912 raised by 75 donors

73% complete

$15,000 Goal

SJMA staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly this year to help care for the incomparable San Juan mountains and inspire the next generation to become stewards, too! Some quick numbers on our work in 2023 (as of November 1st):

  1. Our education team has provided experiential nature programs to more than 3,500 youth and 1,000 adults since January. With your support in 2022, we were able to purchase another 15-passenger van to better meet the demand for programming. 
  2. Our Visitor Information Service (VIS) Specialists have fielded thousands of questions from visitors exploring the San Juan mountain region - either in person or by phone.
  3. Our Forest Ambassadors have engaged with more than 27,000 recreationists across 41 trails in the San Juan, Rio Grande, & GMUG National Forests, encouraging them to recreate responsibly and "Leave No Trace."
  4. SJMA's Wilderness Crew joined the Rio Grande National Forest's (RGNF) Wilderness Crew, and together, they logged out more than 2,600 trees along 376 miles in the RGNF side of the Weminuche Wilderness, improving access for all who want to explore this area.
  5. Whether it's helping with our stewardship efforts or our education programs, volunteers have leveraged SJMA efforts by dedication more than 4,000 recorded hours of their time!
  6. SJMA is leading out on one of Colorado's newest regional partnerships for conservation and recreation, the new Southwest Colorado Conservation & Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (SCCORR).
  7. We're co-leading the re-establishment of the San Juan Skyway Byway Commission.  

Your support makes this all possible. Colorado Gives Day is December 5th, but you can schedule your gift to SJMA now. Please take a minute to show your appreciation for SJMA this year with a donation today.


"I send a very big Thank You to the SJMA Staff and Volunteers for the wonderful Andrew’s Lake Nature Hike yesterday. It was so much fun and an incredible learning experience. Everyone was so knowledgeable, and it was a joy to be a part of their sharing with the participants, as well as with each other. They truly love what they do, and love sharing. What a great time my friend and I had. We talked about all we’d learned all the way back to Durango. Please extend my thanks to each and every one of those special people. It was a memorable time that I hope to do it again and again." - Judy S.

"Thank you for your service! The (Alpine) loop is one of the cleanest trails I travel, especially considering how much use it gets!"  - Brian

"I just want to say again how much I appreciate your program! With no father figure in their life and only me, their grandmother, the program offers very useful and extremely enjoyable learning and interactive opportunities that I simply can't provide." - Anonymous

 "Seven years ago I came to Durango for a friend’s wedding. I spent a few extra days in town and backpacked Ice Lake Basin and a part of the Colorado trail. These two experiences made me decide to find a way to move to Colorado, so needless to say, Ice Lakes has a special place in my heart.

I had hoped to hike Ice Lakes again once I moved here for nostalgia purposes, but several people warned me the increased popularity has resulted in more trash and the trail just not being the same. They said the SJMA was at the trailhead educating hikers on LNT but it still was just not the same.

I prepared for this to be my experience on Wednesday, and I am very excited to say this is not at all what I experienced myself. The trail looks great, it’s clean and I didn’t see a single piece of trash. The Advertisements and education of LNT at the start of the trail are clear and I imagine helpful for those unfamiliar with the principles. 

I wanted to extend my extreme gratitude to you and your team for all you have done and do across the San Juan’s. Ice Lakes has a special place for me since it led to me packing up my life and moving from the Midwest and I was very happy to see it was still just as clean and well-maintained as the day I hiked it seven years ago. Please pass on my gratitude to your team because I’m sure they don’t receive enough for all the hard work and education they do with the public. " - Brett P.


SJMA inspires and empowers connection to and responsible use of the spectacular public lands of Southwest Colorado.

Today, SJMA serves as the interpretive partner to multiple federal public land management agencies, including the San Juan National Forest, the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre & Gunnison (GMUG) National Forest, the Rio Grande National Forest, BLM Canyons of the Ancients, and the BLM Field Offices in Gunnison and Uncompahgre.

Background Statement

Established in 1988 at the request of the San Juan National Forest Supervisor, San Juan Mountains Association (SJMA) was formed by a group of local citizens who recognized the need for public involvement and awareness about public land management. SJMA's aim at creation was to facilitate open communication and cooperation between agencies and residents of communities surrounding the public lands in Southwest Colorado.

In the beginning, SJMA programs were developed by one part-time staff person and a dedicated cadre of volunteers. Today, with 22 year-round staff and more than 40 staff during the busy summer season, we work hard to help our federal public land partners care for the incomparable San Juan Mountains. The amazing staff at SJMA is a group of highly motivated, incredibly talented and extremely dedicated people.

In 2020, SJMA merged with Durango Nature Studies to become the premier outdoor education organization in Southwest Colorado with nature-based science enrichment programs provided to schools throughout La Plata and Montezuma Counties. Through our growing education programs, we are working to inspire the next generation of conservationists and stewards throughout the entire Southwest Colorado region.

We remain true to the spirit in which we were created, and expanded offerings allow many more programs and volunteer opportunities on public lands. From the inspired handful of volunteers, the SJMA now counts its membership as more than 600 individuals who participate in various volunteer programs, as well as support SJMA financially.

We attribute our success to the invaluable support we receive from not only the San Juan National Forest & BLM but also community business partners, extraordinary volunteers, and loyal members. Without your support, we would not be able to accomplish all that we have.

Organization Data


Organization name

San Juan Mountains Association

other names

SJMA, San Juan National Forest Association, Four Corners Forum

Year Established


Tax id (EIN)



Environment, Youth Development, Education

Organization Size

Large Organization


15 Burnett Court
Durango, CO 81301


PO Box 2261
Durango, CO 81302

Service areas

La Plata County, CO, US

San Miguel County, CO, US

Archuleta County, CO, US

San Juan County, CO, US

Montezuma County, CO, US


970 769 1800



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