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We want to hear from you!

by Bergen Tjossem

Click Here to Take the Survey

Eagle County contains world-class recreation opportunities, from skiing to whitewater rafting, hiking, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, mountain biking, and everything in between. Recreationalists flock to this region to enjoy the scenic beauty. However, not all recreation access is created equal. Many of these opportunities have a hefty price tag attached, especially those that involve entrance to a resort or paying for a guide. Additional barriers could include a lack of awareness of outdoor opportunities, not having adequate transportation, perceived risk, and simply not having enough time.

To address these inequities, graduate students in the Conservation Leadership program at Colorado State University, Rachael Brard and Gillian Watson, are conducting a research project with the Eagle Valley Land Trust (EVLT) to determine outdoor recreation values and preferences and identify potential barriers to equitable access to public land in Eagle County. This project seeks to fill knowledge gaps in local conservation and recreation research, support partnerships between EVLT and stakeholders, and amplify the voices of traditionally underserved communities in Eagle County. With the information they gather, they will make recommendations for future conservation work in order to help EVLT allocate funds more wisely and develop community conservation activities. Identifying barriers to access at a local scale will also help inform the long-term planning process for the Sweetwater Lake property.

To connect with the Eagle Valley Hispanic and Latinx community, Gillian and Rachael partnered with EVLT and Eagle Valley Outdoor Movement (EVOM) to host a guided hike at Sweetwater Lake on July 25th, 2022 with members of the USDA Forest Service. They spent the day engaging with participants and gathered valuable anecdotes that helped inform the creation of a survey. The survey, entitled “¿Le gusta pasar tiempo al aire libre?” or “How do you spend time outdoors?”, is offered in both Spanish and English. This survey is integral to informing recommendations for more equitable community conservation projects in the Eagle Valley, and they would greatly appreciate input from as many Eagle County residents as possible.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about their research or the survey, please contact them at:

Rachael Brard: rachael.brard@colostate.edu

Gillian Watson: gillian.watson@colostate.edu

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