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South Canyon Recreation Area Plan

  • Client: City of Glenwood Springs, Design Workshop
  • Type: Wildfire Mitigation
  • Date: March, 2023 – October, 2023
  • Info: Design Workshop contracted Blue Mountain  to provide wildfire mitigation planning to be incorporated in overall recreation plan.

The City of Glenwood Springs hired Design Workshop and BMEC to create a a new recreation management plan for South Canyon Recreation Area.  The goal was to preserve the area’s natural and cultural assets while incorporating the risks and benefits of  new recreational opportunities. The client also requested an assessment of wildfire risk and emergency preparedness.

Blue Mountain conducted research into wildfire history, wildfire risk and emergency preparedness. Wildfire history examined fires over 100 acres within 100 miles of the recreation area. From that, we gleaned information about sources of ignition, fire spread, loss of lives and property and lessons learned. This information was applied to wildfire risk.

Wildfire risk was determined through a site visit, mapping, weather and climate and emergency response resources.  This helped us to gain information about types of vegetation, fuel load, and topography. We used standards designated by the Colorado State Forest Service to examine risk. This helped us to identify higher risk areas where fire was more likely to ignite and burn and lower risk areas.

In terms of emergency preparedness, we conducted extensive research of the county emergency operations. We also examined resources and response through the state’s Division of Fire Prevention and Control. Based on this research, Blue Mountain developed a report outlining deficiences in emergency preparedness. These included issues with sheltering in place, parking, and notifications. Recommendations were made of where improvements could be made to improve protection of life and safety.

The final report included details of wildfire risk and emergency preparedness. Recommendations for the recreation plan were made and the plan was adopted in February, 2024.