Forest Management

Boulder County Parks and Open Space manages over 30,000 acres of forest. In the foothills and mountains of Boulder County, these forests provide habitat for over 90 species of birds, large mammals like bears and mountain lions, and an abundance of native plants. Boulder County’s forests are adjacent to many mountain residents and US Forest Service land, and have scenic and recreational trails. As trusted stewards of these public lands, it is our responsibility to improve the health of these forests.


Our goal is to maintain and monitor the forests on Boulder County Open Space in ways that benefit the ecosystem and the public by:

  • Assessing overall forest conditions through forest inventories and surveys.
  • Implementing management actions based on these inventories and current science.
  • Increasing individual tree and forest-wide health and vigor.
  • Reducing wildfire danger.
  • Maintaining and improving wildlife habitat.
  • Preserving the aesthetic and ecological value of the forest.

Prescribed Burns

Prescribed burns, or prescribed fire, are sometimes used on forested properties to improve natural resources and reduce the risk of unwanted wildfires in the future. Prescribed burns follow all federal, state, and local laws.
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Firewood Permit Sales

Forestry projects on open space sometimes produce forest products that are suitable for individuals to use as firewood. You can purchase permits or tickets that allow you to collect firewood.
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Management Activities

The forestry division manages healthy forest ecosystems specific to each life zone and transition zone (ecotone). Different open space forests require different management actions, ranging from intensive forest thinning, weed control or prescribed fire, to no action when conditions warrant.


Forest thinning efforts produce slash that is used to fuel boilers at two buildings in Boulder County. Watch the video to learn more.

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Parks & Open Space

Stefan Reinold