An official website of

Colorado Forest Collaboratives Network

Welcome to the Colorado Forest Collaboratives Network

The purpose of this network is to benefit and support place-based forest collaboratives in Colorado by connecting them to information, resources, and each other, and by telling their stories to make their value and needs understood.

Jump to sections on this page

What is the Colorado Forest Collaboratives Network?

For years, collaborative leaders and partners have convened in an annual Forest Collaboratives Summit to share updates, build relationships, and learn from one another. Participants agreed that these meetings were beneficial, but there was little capacity for follow-up or ongoing engagement. Hearing the need for more consistent networking amongst forest collaboratives, the Center for Collaborative Conservation conducted a Situation Assessment in 2020 to explore the need and desire for a statewide Forest Collaboratives Network. Nearly three dozen interviews with people involved in collaboratives across Colorado confirmed that there are specific needs collaboratives face that are currently unmet where a network could add substantial value. Discussions with networks in other states affirmed their structure, content, and value. In short, the assessment found that there was a strong need and interest in such a network.

Upon securing three years’ worth of generous funding from Great Outdoors Colorado, Mighty Arrow Family Foundation, and Argosy Foundation, we hired Katie McGrath Novak to serve as a half-time coordinator and launched the Colorado Forest Collaboratives Network (CFCN) in January 2022.


Year one of the Network consisted of dozens of one-on-one and small-group meetings, and four regional listening sessions across the state. Our work plan developed from what we heard in these conversations.

What does the network do? 
We have organized our work plan into four key categories of work, listed below. For a full description of each of these activities and how we identified these tasks, read our Summary of 2022 Regional Forums

Policy Connections

  • Elevate collaboratives’ perspective and needs to a state policy level through the Colorado Forest Health Council; in late 2022, Network Coordinator Katie McGrath Novak was appointed to serve on the Council as “an individual employed or associated with a forest collaborative organization.’
  • Distribute Council’s meeting invites, agendas, and summaries
  • Complete special projects to provide insights on forest collaboratives to federal, state, and local leadership
  • Share collaboratives’ experiences and needs to the Council and federal level to encourage policies that benefit forest collaboratives

Building & Maintaining Connections

  • Host annual Forest Collaboratives Summit
  • Build opportunities for informal networking into events
  • Provide platform for peer-to-peer exchanges on specific topics
  • Expand outreach to include those missing from the table
  • Update & expand the Atlas of Collaborative Conservation
  • Continue to strengthen relationships with agencies and support organizations to voice collaboratives’ needs to shape actions and policy
Funding & Capacity
  • Provide direct support to capacity-limited groups to attend events hosted by the Network and other organizations
  • In response to concerns that a half-time coordinator role was not enough to fulfill the Network’s full potential, Katie McGrath Novak transitioned to full-time work beginning Feb. 1, 2023

Information Sharing 

  • Share relevant information via website, email list, & webinars
  • Topics include Forest Health Council communications, success stories, fantastic failures, peer-to-peer advice, and documents for new and growing collaboratives
  • Convene an advisory group to refine ideas and strategy
Subscribe to the Colorado Forest Collaboratives Network Newsletter

We send occasional emails containing news, events, and resources for forest collaboratives and their partners.

Who We Serve

We serve place-based forest collaboratives in Colorado. For a list of who we aim to support, click the green button below. If you notice that someone is missing, please let us know! 

To see all place-based conservation collaboratives in Colorado on a map, check out the Colorado Atlas of Collaborative Conservation

Icon colors correspond to three broad focus areas used to group collaboratives:

  • Forest – green
  • Water – blue
  • Land Use, range, & habitat – brown
To filter the map to see only forest collaboratives, click on the top left icon on the map (square with arrow). Unmark ‘Active Collaboratives’ and ‘Land Use, Range & Habitat,’ and click “Forest Sector”.

2022 Accomplishments

In year one of the Network, we met inspiring leaders, shared collaboratives’ perspectives at several Forest Health Council Meetings, connected in-person with 50+ collaboratives at four regional forums, and recommenced the annual Forest Collaboratives Summit.
Regional Forums
We hosted four Regional Forums across the state of Colorado (Durango, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, and Glenwood Springs), which saw attendees from more than 40 organizations! At each meeting, we answered questions about the Network’s history and purpose, mapped partner relationships across the state, and workshopped ideas for how the Network can best support Colorado’s forest collaboratives moving forward. The forums facilitated in-person relationship-building, illuminated how collaboratives are connected within regions and across the state, and greatly informed the Network’s work plan moving forward. 
Learn more about the forums and how they helped us determine the Network’s next steps in the Regional Forums 2022 Summary
Annual Summit 
One of the most common recommendations we received at our Regional Forums was to continue hosting an annual gathering of forest collaboratives and their partners. On October 27, 2022, more than 30 collaborative leaders and partners gathered in Frisco, Colorado for the annual Forest Health Collaboratives Summit, despite an unforeseen snowstorm. Attendees built relationships, exchanged stories of success and lessons learned, shared their perspectives with state leadership, and brainstormed useful metrics for collaboratives at different stages. What we learned at the Summit will be used to help inform state-level leadership, other forest collaboratives, and researchers developing the Stages of Readiness framework. 

Find a detailed report of the Summit and next steps in the 2022 Summary of the Annual Forest Collaboratives Summit.

Feedback on the 2022 Annual Forest Collaboratives Summit:

“Having the opportunity to provide feedback and insights to decisions-makers was really valuable.”

“Forest Collaboratives leaders showed up, engaged, and met one another with plenty of time for networking.”

“Great opportunity to network with folks from different regions that I don’t typically get to talk to.”

Forest Health Council

In late 2022, Network Coordinator Katie McGrath Novak was appointed to serve on the Council as ‘an individual employed or associated with a forest collaborative organization.’ The Colorado Forest Health Council is a 26-member volunteer stakeholder body whose role is to provide a collaborative forum to advise the Governor, through the Executive Director of the Department of Natural Resources, and the Colorado General Assembly, on issues, opportunities, and threats to Colorado’s forests. Its mission includes improving forest health in Colorado through Forest Health Council 5 integrated, science-based approaches, with a focus on cross-jurisdictional collaboration among federal, state, and local governments, as well as private and nonprofit partners to reduce wildfire risk, restore ecological resilience, safeguard communities and water supplies, mitigate and adapt to climate change, support local economies, and protect recreation areas. Learn more at the Forest Health Council webpage.

Additionally, the Council’s 2022 Annual Report includes recommendations to the Wildfire Matters Committee and Governor Polis such as expanding forestry education, investing in workforce development programs, and increasing funding and support for Good Neighbor Authority work and others.

Here’s a brief Summary from the Forest Health Council’s February 2023 Meeting. The document summarizes points from the meeting believed to be most relevant to Colorado’s place-based forest collaboratives.

We Want to Hear from You!

Katie McGrath Novak 

Colorado Forest Collaboratives Network Coordinator

If you are a member of a collaborative, or are an interested partner with ideas for building further connections, I would love to set up a one-on-one call to get to know you and hear your ideas for the network. I am best reached at my email address. 

Holly Gordon

Colorado Forest Collaboratives Network Intern


“As Coloradoans face increasingly difficult forest health challenges, some of our greatest successes are thanks to [collaborative groups’] dedication, creativity, and ability to bring people together. On behalf of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources – thank you! I am pleased to share my support for the all-new Colorado Forest Collaboratives Network… I hope you will find great value in the CFCN.”
Dan Gibbs
Director, Colorado Department of Natural Resources
"Community-based collaboratives are engines for action in Colorado. They bring together diverse values and voices into a common conversation to achieve critical outcomes for their neighbors. Collaborative work across the state is leading to healthier forests and watersheds while growing the number of Colorado’s fire-adapted communities. The Forest Collaboratives Network will build on this history of success in Colorado by ensuring existing and new collaboratives are better positioned for success by sharing working models, building capacity and ensuring that stakeholder driven planning and implementation continues to drive Colorado forward. I look forward to what comes from building together that we could not have built on our own.”
Matt McCombs
State Forester, Colorado State Forest Service

Thank You to the Colorado Forest Collaboratives Network Funders and Supporters