Tucked along the west side of the Medicine Bow Mountains, the Colorado State Forest is a scenic and historic location and a crown jewel of the state’s land trust. The Colorado State Land Board (SLB) owns the State Forest and roughly 300,000 forested acres across Colorado. With a limited staff, the SLB relies on the Colorado State Forest Service to manage these forested areas within the state’s land trust, with proceeds from forest management supporting Colorado’s public schools.
The SLB honored the CSFS and supervisory forester John Twitchell, a previous manager of the Colorado State Forest, with its 2022 Outstanding Partner Award. Twitchell accepted the award on behalf of the CSFS during a ceremony in Denver on Dec. 15.
“Our two agencies have a long-standing relationship,” said Greg Ochis, assistant director of the SLB. “The partners we work with are critically important to the day-to-day management, boots-on-the-ground management of our lands.”
A major factor in the success of this relationship is Twitchell. “John’s efforts are a model for how forestry can be used to improve forest health, protect watersheds and reduce wildfire risk,” Ochis said.
In addition to regular, ongoing forest management tasks, such as providing technical expertise and developing forest prescriptions, Twitchell has repeatedly gone above and beyond. During his tenure as manager of the Colorado State Forest, he led the effort to include the historic buildings stewarded by the CSFS at the State Forest on the National Register of Historic Places. Twitchell oversaw the construction of a needed new maintenance building. His work at the State Forest also enhanced and facilitated numerous field trips, education programs and recreation opportunities for many, many Coloradans.
“The State Forest is an opportunity for all of us to help inform the next generation. I’m proud of what we’ve been able to achieve to benefit the public schools of Colorado,” Twitchell said. “Managing the Colorado State Forest was a forester’s dream come true for me.”
Now at the CSFS Steamboat Springs Field Office, Twitchell continues to work for Colorado’s forests for the benefit of present and future Coloradans. Thank you, John, for your continued dedication to Colorado’s forests, and thank you to the SLB for this incredible honor.