In 2015, President Barack Obama conferred National Monument status on Colorado’s Browns Canyon. The designation elicited a variety of responses and perspectives from different stakeholders, with outdoor enthusiasts and environmentalists applauding the move and others expressing concern about the impact on mineral rights and grazing opportunities. In the fall of 2016, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which jointly manage the Browns Canyon National Monument, initiated two complementary processes to better understand what is important to individuals, local communities, and other stakeholders; to foster positive federal, state, and private sector working relationships; and to offer the public opportunities for meaningful input.
The two federal agencies engaged CBI to analyze and identify stakeholders and assess the public’s values, interests, and concerns related to the Browns Canyon National Monument. As part of the identification process, CBI used software to create a visual network map of stakeholders by geography and interest group. Simultaneously, the agencies engaged the USFS Pacific Northwest Research Station and the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, to conduct a series of six public listening sessions in communities in the Arkansas River Valley and the urban Front Range. CBI facilitated listening sessions in which the Research Station and University used a method called Human Ecology Mapping, linking social and spatial data to inform planning and decision-making.
At the culmination of this collaborative effort, CBI co-authored a report on the assessment and crafted best practices to blend the stakeholder situation assessment with the Human Ecology Mapping process. The data will inform development of a national monument management plan, and the agencies hope to use the blended approach for future planning processes.