Forest Management

Boulder County Parks & Open Space manages over 30,000 acres of forest. In the foothills and mountains of Boulder County, these forests provide habitat for over 90 species of birds, large mammals like bears and mountain lions, and an abundance of native plants. Boulder County’s forests are adjacent to many mountain residents and US Forest Service land, and have scenic and recreational trails. As trusted stewards of these public lands, it is our responsibility to improve the health of these forests.

Prescribed Burns

Prescribed burns, or prescribed fire, are sometimes used on forested properties to improve natural resources and reduce the risk of unwanted wildfires in the future. Prescribed burns follow all federal, state, and local laws.
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St. Vrain Forest Health Partnership Project

The St. Vrain Forest Partnership is made up of over 200 agencies, organizations, and community members, with a collective goal of increasing the pace and scale of forest restoration across the watershed. The Partnership recently received a $1 million dollar grant to support forest restoration and planning. Please attend the informational meeting on April 18 to learn how this money will be spent on ongoing and future forest health projects.
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Species Conservation and Recovery Plans

Conservation and recovery plans ensure that naturally occurring ecosystems and their native species populations continue to exist and flourish in Boulder County. The forestry division is actively working to improve limber pine and other species of special concern.
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Management Activities

The forestry division manages healthy forest ecosystems specific to each life zone and transition zone (ecotone). Different open space forests require different management actions, ranging from intensive forest thinning, weed control or prescribed fire, to no action when conditions warrant.

Boulder County Wildfires Story Map

This interactive story map outlines some of the most recent fires in Boulder County and highlights the effect they had on the people and the land. The map includes links to videos, websites, PDFs, and other interactive maps.
View the Story Map →


Forest thinning efforts produce slash that is used to fuel boilers at two buildings in Boulder County. Watch the video to learn more.

Management Goals

Our goal is to maintain and monitor the forests on Boulder County Open Space in ways that benefit the ecosystem and the public by:

  • Assessing overall forest conditions through forest inventories and surveys.
  • Implementing management actions based on these inventories and current science.
  • Increasing individual tree and forest-wide health and vigor.
  • Reducing wildfire danger.
  • Maintaining and improving wildlife habitat.
  • Preserving the aesthetic and ecological value of the forest.

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