The Upper Monument Creek (UMC) Landscape consists of approximately 67,000 acres of primarily National Forest System lands on Colorado’s southern Front Range in El Paso, Douglas and Teller counties. The landscape is highly urbanized with Colorado Springs, Woodland Park, Monument, and Palmer Lake all bordering the area. Nearly all of watersheds within the landscape are designated as a high priority for drinking water and also as watersheds at high risk for post-fire soil erosion. In 2012, the Pike National Forest identified the UMC landscape as its next area for analysis due to its location in a high fire risk area. The UMC project also offered a unique opportunity for collaborative engagement and learning because it is located in a high priority treatment area identified by the Front Range Roundtable and because it will be implemented as part of the Front Range Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project (CFLRP).
In July 2012, The Nature Conservancy convened a Steering Team to develop a plan for engaging Roundtable members and other local stakeholders in a collaborative conversation about forest restoration in the UMC landscape. Over the next year, the collaborative group developed a report that contains information from a broad range of community members. The U.S. Forest Service is now entering formal NEPA scoping and will consider the perspective of the collaborative with all other public comments when finalizing the project proposal.