MONTE VISTA, COLO., (April 15, 2015) — The West Fork Complex fires affected our communities.  As the forest land continues to recover, so do our local businesses and economies.  The Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) provided a grant to Rio Grande County to oversee a regional marketing planning process and implementation strategy for this recovery.  

RWEACT partnered with B4 Studio, LLC, to work with the counties of Archuleta, Hinsdale, Mineral, and Rio Grande to develop a comprehensive plan to guide the local marketing programs over the next three years.  This strategy seeks to increase the collaboration between communities, boost regional branding, and support economic development efforts.  The 114-page document provides information on target markets, key recommendations, overall assessments of each County, a recommended budget and community-generated ideas.  The Silver Thread Scenic Byway connects the region and the Strategy emphasizes this program.

The DOLA grant – along with the Office of Emergency Management (OEM)’s Executive Order for economic recovery – has designed a program of work to support local businesses, increase regional marketing, emphasize heritage tourism and recreational opportunities in the region, and research biomass and watershed stewardship opportunities.  Communities situated in a public-lands dominated region rely significantly on tourism as an economic driver.  This work seeks to further support tourism work and diversify economies. 

RWEACT (Rio Grande Watershed Emergency Action Coordination Team) -- together with the Rio Grande National Forest -- brings together local, state and federal partners as a collective to address fire-caused natural hazards and impacts on human life, property, community economies, and the health of the Rio Grande Watershed following the West Fork and Papoose Fires.