Public Lands/Land Use Management

As populations surge and recreational use of public lands increases, Keystone helps stakeholders, businesses, and communities develop solutions for recreation and visitor use planning. Keystone facilitates community-based conversations to help diverse groups share perspectives, interests, and management suggestions with public land managers. In the face of trends like growing populations and changing climate, we help communities and other stakeholders establish sustainable land management while maintaining equitable access to natural resources and public lands.

Featured Projects

Gray Wolf Restoration and Management Public Engagement

Colorado voters passed Proposition 114 directing the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to begin the planning process to reintroduce gray wolves west of the Continental Divide no later than December 2023. In Spring 2021, Keystone was selected by Colorado Parks and Wildlife to implement a robust public involvement effort that provides a variety of opportunities for Coloradans to engage, learn, and provide substantive input and feedback on the wolf reintroduction restoration and management planning process. Learn More

Next 100 Colorado

Keystone Policy Center facilitates Next 100 Colorado, which focuses on workforce diversity at land management agencies and across the conservation and outdoor recreation industries; ensuring equitable outdoor access for all people; and using outdoor spaces to tell accurate, complex, uplifting, and healing stories about our state lands. It recently launched a pilot mentorship program for people of color working as leaders in conservation and/or outdoor recreation. Next 100 Colorado is also mounting an exhibit at the American Mountaineering Museum that spotlights Charlie Crenchaw, the first African American to summit Denali.

Browns Canyon National Monument

Keystone Policy Center facilitated discussions for the Friends of Browns Canyon and a coalition of local residents who wanted to offer recommendations for a federal resource management plan for the Browns Canyon National Monument. The coalition representing numerous organizations with diverse interests and experience conducted a series of meetings to discuss a shared set of recommendations for the Bureau of Land Management and the United States Forest Service. The result of those meetings was a comprehensive Sustainable Alternative Plan outlining the recommendations for the federal agencies. Learn More


The population along Colorado’s Front Range is growing, with the seven metro counties projected to reach 4.2 million people by 2050. This growth corresponds to an increasing demand for recreation, which is straining the capacity of public lands. In response, eight public land management agencies formed NoCoPLACES 2050 (NoCo) to address the challenge of conserving natural and cultural resources while providing equitable access and a quality recreation experience for current and future generations. Keystone helps NoCo realize this vision by managing a series of core topic investigations to find insights and uncover trends. The core topic series will inform joint guidelines and adaptable strategies for public land management along the Front Range. Learn more.

Eldorado Canyon State Park Visitor Use Management Plan

As Colorado’s – and the West’s – population and recreational tourism industry continue to grow, conflicts regarding land use, recreation, and community interests also continue to emerge. Keystone is facilitating a year-long engagement and planning effort with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to develop Visitor Use Management Planning for Eldorado Canyon State Park, which has experienced rapid increases in visitor use that are straining park access and resources. The efforts for the plan at this park will create a model for how the agency handles visitor use concerns statewide. We are partnering with SE Group, a Summit County-based and nationally recognized land management analysis and planning firm, to bring complementary skill sets to public land planning efforts.

A Climate Plan for Public Lands

Keystone was called upon to lead gathering of NGOs with diverse interests – national environmental organizations and grassroots groups focused on topics like climate justice, air pollution, conservation, wildlife, outdoor recreation, and faith-based approaches to stewardship – to articulate their shared values intersecting public land issues and climate. A group gathered in Albuquerque to discuss values, guiding principles, and high-level goals cutting across their diverse missions. Keystone recommended several ways the group might continue to collaborate, either formally or informally, to continue to advance these shared values.

Routt Recreation Roundtable

In early 2019, Keystone worked with stakeholders and community members in Steamboat Springs, CO to develop recommendations for the U.S. Forest Service regarding a controversial system of proposed recreational trails dubbed the Mad Rabbit Trails project. Following the development of those recommendations, Keystone began helping with the establishment of a locally facilitated, standing recreation roundtable with a broader focus for the entire Routt National Forest. The roundtable conducted its first meeting in August 2019.

Cielo Vista Ranch/La Sierra

The 80,000 acre Mexican Land Grant from 1844 along the Sangre de Cristo range is the only land grant of its kind in Colorado; at 40 years old, it also happens to be the longest running legal dispute in the state. The legal dispute seeks to balance rights that community members and heirs to the property to access the property for collecting firewood and grazing livestock with the interests of the property owner. Over the years, landowners have limited access to the property and fought in court to limit the land grant heirs’ rights to access the property. In December of 2018, the new landowner and land grant heirs agreed to pause litigation to find common ground and work through their issues. Keystone was brought on to facilitate a series of meetings and discussions in hopes of finding a way to address various concerns of mutual interest.

Public Lands/Land Use Management Projects Featured in Keynotes Podcast

Past Projects

Colorado West Slope Mule Deer Strategy

Across the West, state wildlife agencies have been seeing declines in mule deer populations.  Keystone planned and facilitated seven local public meetings and a Statewide Summit to discuss the issues facing the Colorado West Slope mule deer populations and garner public input on a Colorado West Slope Mule Deer Strategy that will guide Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s efforts to work towards increasing deer populations. The public meeting and statewide summit reports are available to read.

Landscape Conservation Cooperatives

Keystone provided facilitation for the Desert, Great Plains, Gulf Coast Prairie, and Southern Rockies Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs). LCCs resulted in multi-jurisdictional coordination and development of applied science to address conservation priorities in the context of climate change and other landscape scale stressors. The LCCs were part of a nationwide U.S. Department of Interior initiative that involving federal, state, tribal, academic, non-governmental, and private sector stakeholders.

Forest Health

Keystone facilitated Colorado Governor Hickenlooper’s Colorado Forest Health Advisory Council, comprised of public, private, and NGO stakeholders and resulting in strategic dialogue and coordination on forest management issues. Keystone also facilitated a 2010 Bark Beetle Summit and conversations on prescribed burning and smoke management in both Colorado and New Mexico.