Recreation and Resilience after the 416

October 22, 5:00-8:30pm, Powerhouse Science Center

(FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE) Durango, CO—"Recreation and Resilience after the 416” hopes to unite community discussion and action around the interwoven relationships between recreation, forests, fire and community resilience. This unique event will bring together stakeholders from across our fire-impacted communities, ranging from mountain bikers and land managers to anglers and business owners.


After months of smoke and public land closures, fire’s power to affect recreation and local economics became obvious. While a natural and key part of our ecosystem, recent fires also illustrated their ability to reduce tourism, threaten homes, and limit recreation in prized public lands. Now is a critical time to nurture conversations about how we can build a future more resilient to fire. 


“Recreation and Resilience” will highlight innovative options for supporting conservation through recreation, promote local engagement in forest and watershed health, and connect community members with diverse resources. For this evening event, a packed agenda will build upon the PBS series, “America’s Forests” to promote local dialogue about the critical role recreationists play in the health and resilience of local forests and watersheds.


To kick-off the event, guests are welcome to connect with local organizations and resources over beer, food and yard games on the Powerhouse patio. Meanwhile, a silent auction of gear and art from Osprey, Alpacka Raft, Sorrel Sky Gallery, Trails200 and more will raise money for the Community Foundation’s Community Emergency Relief Fund (CERF). Currently, CERF is helping support flood mitigation efforts around Hermosa Creek. 


After the screening of “America’s Forests,” Luis Benitez, the Director of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, will elevate the conversation to the broader impact that recreation is having on economies and decision-processes across the state, before local speakers bring the dialogue back home to inspire community action.


To end the night, a panel of leaders in business, recreation, conservation and land management will answer questions and highlight their ideas for a path forward. The discussion will include answers to two guiding questions: how we should improve our neighborhoods, adapt our economies and recreational use, and conserve our natural resources to mitigate the impacts of fire; and how can we support a diverse range of recreation interests, while protecting and improving the health and resiliency of our forests? 

In addition to the evening event, a smaller community discussion about the role of recreation in community resilience planning will run from 1:30-3:30pm at Fort Lewis College. Luis Benitez will attend this afternoon event, along with local business owners, government and land management agency representatives and non-profits. Contact laurel@mountainstudies.orgto RSVP to the afternoon session.

In the era of climate change and 100 years of fire suppression, the risk of more fire, flooding and other disturbances isn’t disappearing. Join the discussion to take an active role in helping our community recover from the 416 Fire while planning for a more resilient future. 


For more information visits




Laurel Sebastian

Mountain Studies Institute



Mountain Studies Institute

San Juan National Forest

Choose Outdoors

Colorado State Forest Service