Baldy Mountain Landscape Resiliency and Habitat Improvement Project

Ouray County, Colorado

The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests’ Ouray Ranger District and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Uncompahgre Field Office and partners are collaborating on the Baldy Mountain Landscape Resiliency and Habitat Improvement project in Ouray County. An Environmental Assessment was signed in March 2022 to start implementation of fuels reduction activities on up to 6,106 acres to benefit wildlife habitat, reduce fuels both within and outside of the wildland-urban interface and improve landscape resiliency. The project will take place over approximately five years and provides for maintenance treatments in future years.

“This decision allows us to conduct much-needed treatment in dead, dying, and overgrown stands at a more landscape scale, including areas within the wildland urban interface,” said Ouray District Ranger, Dana Gardunio. “This will enhance forest health and wildlife habitat as well as maintain fuel breaks important for public and firefighter safety.”

The Bureau of Land Management Field Manager for the Uncompahgre Field Office shared that, "the Baldy Mountain project has fostered collaboration across jurisdictional boundaries, enabling us to leverage staff expertise and financial resources with other agencies and private landowners to reduce hazardous fuel loads, support landscape resilience and improve public safety."


The primary purpose of the project is to reduce hazardous fuels and improve wildlife habitat for multiple species. The long-term absence of fire on the landscape has caused a buildup of vegetation that has resulted in unhealthy conditions. These conditions have made the area more vulnerable to disturbances such as beetle and disease outbreaks, soil erosion and flooding, and uncharacteristically catastrophic wildfires.

Mechanical treatment implementation is scheduled to begin summer of 2022 on the north end of the project area. Treatments will provide quality summer elk habitat and prepare the area for future prescribed fires. The focus will shift to the improvement of bighorn sheep habitat and fuels reductions in the wildland-urban interface as treatments shifts to the south end. The earliest any prescribed burning would occur in 2023.

Partners and Process

The project has been closely coordinated with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Mullin’s Ranch, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Ouray County, Colorado State Forest Service, West Region Fire Council, Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control and private landowners.

The National Forest Foundation (NFF) is a key coordination partner for the project. We will work closely with the GMUG and partners to fundraise and build capacity for implementation and expand collaboration and communication with partners, landowners and community members that will support mutual goals of shared stewardship.

These partnerships allow the agencies and public to consider the whole landscape from multiple perspectives and not limit activities to jurisdictional boundaries.

If you are interested in learning more about the Baldy Mountain Landscape Resiliency and Habitat Improvement Project, you can contact Maddie Rehn, GMUG Project Coordinator with the National Forest Foundation or Luke Holguin, Zoned Wildlife Biologist with the Norwood and Ouray Ranger Districts of the GMUG National Forest.