Gov. Polis appoints members of Colorado Forest Health Council
Gov. Jared Polis and Dan Gibbs, executive director, Colorado Department of Natural Resources announced the appointed members of the Colorado Forest Health Council.
The council is a volunteer stakeholder body whose role is to provide a collaborative forum to advise the governor, through the executive director of the Department of Natural Resources, and the Colorado General Assembly, on issues, opportunities and threats to Colorado’s forests.
The council, previously housed at the Colorado State Forest Service, was reconstituted during the Colorado 2021 Legislative Session through SB21-237, with a broader focus and more diverse membership of 26 members representing all corners of Colorado. Its updated mission includes improving forest health in Colorado through integrated, science-based approaches, with a focus on collaboration among federal, state, and local governments, and private and nonprofit partners to mitigate wildfire, restore ecological health, safeguard communities and water supplies, mitigate and adapt to climate change, support local economies and protect recreation amenities, including across jurisdictional boundaries.
“Colorado’s forests face unprecedented challenges from climate change, year-round wildfire risk, and population growth. Last year our state saw the three largest wildfires on record and Colorado needs a more robust and diverse advisory body to rise to the challenge of current forest health and wildfire mitigation realities,” said Dan Gibbs, executive director, Colorado Department of Natural Resources. “This newly elevated, cabinet level Forest Health Council will help guide and shape our renewed and refocused forest health and wildfire mitigation priorities across Colorado. I look forward to getting to work with our newly appointed council members, who represent the diversity and complexity of forest health entities collaborating everyday and who now will have the opportunity to shape our state’s forest management and wildfire risk management policies and priorities for the future.”
Members of the Colorado Forest Health Council include:
Scott Jones, vice president, Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition of Livermore, to serve as an individual employed by or associated with an organization that advocates for motorized recreation:
Aaron Kimple, program director, Mountain States Institute of Durango, to serve as an individual employed or associated with a forest collaborative organization;
Paige Lewis, deputy state director and director of conservation programs for The Nature Conservancy in Colorado, of Boulder, to serve as an individual employed by or associated with a conservation organization;
Mark Morgan, Owner, Morgan Timber Products, of Wellington, to serve as an individual employed by or associated with the timber industry;
Ben Tisdel, Ouray County commissioner, of Ouray, to serve as a county commissioner west of the continental divide;
Jody Shadduck-McNally, Larimer County commissioner, of Loveland, to serve as a county commissioner east of the continental divide;
Samantha Albert, deputy director, Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, of Denver, to serve as an employee of the Colorado Office of Economic Development with a leadership role and expertise in outdoor recreation;
Christy Belton, rancher, of Steamboat Springs, to serve as an individual who owns a ranch and has grazing rights on public lands;
Ethan Bucholz, academic liaison and experiential learning specialist, Colorado State Forest Service, of Fort Collins, to serve as a forest scientist or an individual who is employed in a forest research position and has climate science experience;
Christina Burri, watershed scientist, Denver Water, of Drake, to serve as an individual who is employed by a water supplier, including a municipal drinking water supplier and an irrigation water supplier, east of the continental divide;
Hillary Cooper, San Miguel County commissioner, of Telluride, to serve as a county commissioner west of the continental divide;
Patricia Dorsey, director of conservation operations, Mountain West, National Wild Turkey Federation, of Bayfield, to serve as an individual employed by or associated with a wildlife organization;
Abe Laydon, Douglas County commissioner, of Lone Tree, to serve as a county commissioner east of the continental divide;
Amy Moyer, director of strategic partnerships, Colorado River District, of Glenwood Springs, to serve as an individual employed by a water supplier, including a municipal drinking water supplier and an irrigation water supplier, west of the continental divide;
Julie Stencel, assistant general counsel, Xcel Energy, Denver, to serve as an individual employed by a public utility that owns or operates transmission facilities;
Carole Walker, executive director, Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, of Denver, to serve as an individual employed by or associated with the insurance industry;
Selwyn Whiteskunk, vice chair, Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Council, of Towaoc, to serve as an enrolled member of a tribe that has a reservation in Colorado;
Brett Wolk, assistant director, Colorado Forest Restoration Institute, of Fort Collins, to serve as an individual employed by a research institution and who has forest policy expertise.
Ex-Officio members or their designees include: The executive director of the Department of Natural Resources, who will chair the council; Colorado State Forester, Colorado State Forest Service; director, Division of Fire Prevention and Control; regional forester or deputy regional forester for U.S. Forest Service, Region 2; forestry program lead, U.S. Bureau of Land Management; state conservationist, Natural Resources Conservation Service.
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