To recognize the irreplaceable values provided by Colorado’s public lands, Colorado established a day celebrating the importance of public lands in 2016. It’s celebrated on the third Saturday of each May. For the past few years, the NFF has proudly celebrated Colorado Public Lands Day alongside our partners at the USDA Forest Service and around our state.

Even in the midst of challenging times that deeply affecting all Americans, including communities who coexist with public lands, I feel that it’s more important than ever to recognize and celebrate the values provided by these sacred lands – past and future. The great state of Colorado is well known for vital resources provided by the outdoors, including clean water, wildlife habitat and recreation. Beyond those values, we know public lands enhance our mental health and wellbeing, provide educational opportunities for our children, and support a multitude of businesses and communities through the outdoor industry and related economic activity.

Photo by Nicole Kofoed

Arapaho National Forest

“The COVID-19 crisis is having a profound impact on Colorado’s communities and outdoor recreation economy. We must adapt and celebrate public lands while remaining socially distant.” -

During Colorado Public Lands Day 2020, whether you’re recreating in a close-to-home National Forest or merely celebrating from your suburban back yard (like me!), I hope you’ll take a moment to feel the breeze on your face, enjoy the Colorado sunshine, and share your gratitude for the water, wildlife, and multitude of recreation opportunities all Coloradoans have to enjoy thanks to the National Forests and other public lands dotting the state. Regardless of whether your “backyard” playground is a National Forest sparkling with alpine lakes or concrete bike path, Coloradoans have much to be grateful for on this important day.

Interested in learning more about the NFF’s work in Colorado? For a snapshot of what we do, check out our statewide Find Your Fourteener campaign, community “stewardship funds” supporting recreation infrastructure and forest health in Gunnison County and the across the San Juan National Forest, or a forest health project we’re spearheading in partnership with the GMUG National Forest and Colorado State Forest Service.

Photo by Kellon Spencer Photography

Trail work on Pike's Peak on the Pike National Forest.

I am also thrilled to introduce Joe Lavorini, the NFF’s second full time staff in Colorado. To enhance a rapidly growing and important scope of work in Gunnison County, Joe serves in a shared Gunnison County/NFF role. Joe’s position is made possible through a partnership with Gunnison County and Great Outdoors Colorado – a first for the NFF! You can contact Joe at [email protected].

National Forest Foundation