The National Forest Foundation (NFF) and USDA Forest Service announced a new partnership with The VF Foundation that will create a new program in the Denver, CO area called the “Colorado Front Range Strike Team.”

In total, The VF Foundation has granted more than $400,000 to help fund the first two years of the pilot project in partnership with the NFF, the USDA Forest Service and Mile High Youth Corps (MHYC) to conserve and maintain Front Range trails.

“We are proud and excited to kick off this unique partnership with The VF Foundation. Their gift will further our mission at the National Forest Foundation to engage all Americans in promoting the health and public enjoyment of our National Forest System,” said Mary Mitsos, NFF president and CEO. “This partnership demonstrates the deep commitment The VF Foundation has to our National Forests and Grasslands, as well as equitable access to the outdoors, and fostering the future leaders of the conservation and sustainable recreation industries. The VF Foundation is a leading example of how, together, we can proactively steward our spectacular public lands.”

This new program helps the USDA Forest Service, NFF, and MHYC address trail needs along the Front Range from Colorado Springs to Boulder on the Arapaho, Roosevelt, Pike, and San Isabel National Forests. These forests have seen a dramatic increase of use in the face of recent metro-area population growth. In addition, trail use on the Front Range has reached historic levels since the pandemic started.

Colorado’s population has multiplied rapidly and is projected to grow from 5.7 million people in 2018 to 8.7 million in 2050. Many residents and millions of out-of-state visitors go there for the outdoor experiences in its National Forests and forests along the Front Range see the most visitors. Three million people visit the 1,375 miles of trails annually.

Photos courtesy SingleTracks / The trailhead parking lot to Green Mountain in Lakewood, CO on April 1, 2020.