Graduation Year

2015

Graduation Month

December

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

School or Department

Biological Sciences, Division of

Major

Biology – Ecology and Organismal Biology

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Sarah J. Halvorson

Faculty Mentor Department

Geography

Keywords

stewardship, ecological restoration, Rocky Mountain National Park, conservation, environment

Subject Categories

Environmental Studies

Abstract

The Rocky Mountain Conservancy (RMC) is a well-known nonprofit organization supporting restoration and environmental stewardship and leadership in Rocky Mountain National Park. The RMC promotes stewardship of Rocky Mountain National Park and similar lands through education and philanthropy. Since 1931, the RMC (previously Rocky Mountain Nature Association) has been producing educational publications, offering seminars, supporting research, and providing aid and philanthropic support to Rocky Mountain National Park and their other public lands partners. The RMC has also established a unique Conservation Corps in which college students work side-by-side with park and forest service teams in Rocky Mountain National Park and regional national forests constructing and maintaining trails, restoring historic buildings, and learning from expert park and forest managers.

The purpose of this study is to assess the restoration objectives and outcomes that have been undertaken by the RMC in Rocky Mountain National Park and the Arapaho National Forest (ANF). Since 1931, the RMC has implemented a restoration program designed to aid in constructing and restoring visitor use facilities (campgrounds, trail heads, etc.), promoting backcountry patrols to inform visitors of USFS regulations and leave-no-trace practices, and instigating standard trail maintenance including clearing downed trees from the trail, constructing drainage structures, and restoring trails through riparian areas.

My approach to this study entailed three components. First, I served as a RMCC intern (June-August 2015) to be actively engaged in RMC restoration activities in ANF. Second, as an intern living and working in the ANF, I learned first-hand through my own participation about the ecological issues and the environmental history of the area. Lastly, during the fall of 2015 I collected historical data, analyzed my findings from the summer, and compiled my information into the following thesis.

Taking a critical look at the conservation efforts of the RMC in a specific range of national forest has provided the opportunity to identify approaches geared toward protecting and restoring our natural resources, as well as to assess the efficacy of these methods. This study presents a field-based and geographically situated assessment of what has been learned and what lessons can be gained from work done by the RMC since its inception in 1931.

Honors College Research Project

Yes

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© Copyright 2015 Jordan Carper