Protecting Resources

Colorado, now with 4.3 million residents, is the third-fastest growing state in the country.  Colorado grew by over 30% in the 1990's, and a million new people are expected to move here over the next ten years. Colorado suffers from all the symptoms of rapid growth: overcrowded schools, traffic, smog, and sprawl. Every hour, an average of ten acres of our farmland and open space are lost to development.

Our conservation philosophy centers around the preservation of resources, treasured as values, that enrich the lives of Colorado residents and visitors. Conservation in and of itself is a worthwhile endeavor, but by focusing on the benefits that are realized through our efforts, we hope to allow many people to experience these values for themselves.

Follow the photographs on the right and below to additional pages that will help you to explore many of the resources available in our program areas.

Water

Colorado is headwaters for four major American rivers; the Colorado, the Rio Grande, the Platte, and the Arkansas. Our rivers provide water to municipalities, farmers, and ranches in a dozen western states. In Colorado, a semi-arid state, 80% of our water supply lies west of the Front Range, while 80% of our population lives east of the Front Range. With expanding  population and growing demands for recreation and agriculture, water is an increasingly precious resource, for which competition is fierce.

Recreation

There are numerous and varied recreation opportunities throughout Colorado. The world class resorts of Aspen, Vail, and Telluride are among the better known ski areas. Cross-country skiers and snowshoers enjoy the solitude of snow-shrouded pine forests and can make use of several hut systems for backcountry adventuring. Snowmobilers travel  what are four-wheel drive roads in the summer, often with a skier or two in tow. Crisp white snow contrasts with deep blue skies to create the perfect winter playground.

Scenic

Colorado has a diversity of mountains, plateaus, canyons, and plains. Generally, the eastern half of the state has flat, high plains and rolling prairies gradually rising westward to the foothills of the front range. West of the high peaks of the front range are three natural parks that lead from the north to the south and are named North Park, Middle Park and South Park. The western spine of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado contains the Continental Divide, which runs from north to south through west-central Colorado and bisects the state's watersheds. The western half of the state consists of alpine terrain interspersed with wide valleys, rugged canyons, high plataus, and deep basins.

Agriculture

Cattle Production - The beef industry in Colorado represents a major segment of the Colorado economy. The gross cash receipts of over $2.5 billon in cattle marketings represents over 60 percent of the states agricultural  sales. With an inventory of over 3 million beef cattle, the performance of the livestock sector has been important to the profitability of the Colorado agricultural economy.

In addition to cattle ranching, the beef industry plays an important part in other aspects of the economy as well. Cattle feeding is a large part of the agricultural economy. The beef production industry and animal by-products also employ many workers in the state.

History and Culture

Colorado, The Centennial State, has a rich history, first as home to many native American tribes, then as a destination for settlers, traders, hunters and gold seekers.

Wildlife - Birds

Wildlife - Birds

Swallows (right) are found in areas where there is a ready and accessible supply of small insects. They are particularly fond of open pasture with access to water and quiet farm buildings. Large reed beds in late summer and early autumn can be good places to look for pre-migration roosts. Swallows are small birds with dark glossy blue backs, red throats, pale under parts and long distinctive tail streamers.