Healthy Mountain Communities

 The Watershed Collaborative

 Eagle, Garfield, and Pitkin Counties

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 "I started out thinking of America as highways and state lines. As I got to know it better, I began to think of it as rivers. Most of what I love about the country is a gift of the rivers. . . . America is a great story, and there is a river on every page of it."

-- Charles Kuralt

Revised County Population Forecasts

Fall, 2005



Full Report

Eagle County xls pdf
Garfield County xls pdf
Pitkin County xls pdf
Estimating Commuting from Garfield County xls pdf


Special thanks to Randy Russell, Garfield County Long Range Planner and Jim Westkott of the State Demographer's Office for shepherding this effort.




A regional a team of participants (with representatives from Garfield County, Eagle County, the White River National Forest, Glenwood Springs, the Roaring Fork Conservancy, and Healthy Mountain Communities) attended a National Association of Counties (NACo) / Sonoran Institute Stewardship Workshop in Estes Park April 12-14, 2002.  Participation at the workshop was by competitive application, which Garfield County and HMC jointly submitted.  Eight county groups were accepted from the intermountain west.  The team membership was structured to represent the larger watershed as much as possible with a commitment to expand the team on return among land management agencies, local governments and all interested parties.


Action Plan

The workshop focused on helping rapidly growing western counties better understand the trends affecting growth in the western U.S. as well as tools they can use to shape growth to maintain rural and community values. As part of the workshop, the team developed a preliminary action plan to promote greater regional cooperation and integrated planning in the Roaring Fork Valley. The effort is called the Watershed Collaborative. The initial and developing components of this effort include:




Encouraging regional collaboration
Land use, transportation, water are all issues that can benefit from cooperation among local, state and regional organizations.


Watershed Planning

   Roaring Fork Watershed Collaborative
Water Committee

Examining zoning structures

This Step focuses on ensuring that clustering and incentives fro sensitive place preservation are present in current regulations. (See to get an overview on open space /cluster zoning.)

Open space/cluster zoning option adopted by Garfield County, 2003.


Examining referral and support structures
This step focuses on support for traditional rural lands uses and incentives/disincentives for that continued use.


Compiling regional social economic data analysis. The Sonoran Institute is providing software (it is public domain software developed by the BLM) to generate specific profiles of the economic trends in Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin Counties.

See Community Economics &

State of the Valley Symposium


Developing a regional build out scenario.
Eagle County has completed this effort. The effort is the RF and CO river valleys awaits Garfield County’s efforts to digitize parcel level data from the Assessor’s office to the County’s GIS database. 

The first phase of this work effort is complete, with the report on revisions to county level population projections (see above). Garfield County has completed parcel mapping.  Sub-area allocations will be largely completed in 2006.

Conducting a Cost of Community Services Study. COCS studies are a snapshot in time of costs vs. revenues for each land use. These types of studies can explain some of the costs associated with growth from a public expenditure / tax perspective. (See for more information.)

See Costs of Growth Workshop


Creating a Fiscal and Value Analysis of Alternative Growth Scenarios.

The data and analysis from the previous steps will be collected in such a way that it used by the CommunityViz software. We can then use CommunityViz to generate alternative growth scenarios.  (See and for examples of alternative growth scenario analysis and for case study examples.)

View the CommunityViz fly through of Four Mile Canyon (7mb) 




Randy Russell, Garfield County Building & Planning -

Clifford Simonton, Eagle County Community Development -

Cindy Houben, Pitkin County Community Development -

Colin Laird, Healthy Mountain Communities -


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 Last Updated on 3.2.06