Wildlands, Wildlife, and Wildly Working to Provide Safe Passage for People and Wildlife in Colorado

Image by David Mark

Colorado is known for many things but few more iconic than its beautiful landscapes, vast mountainous wilderness, and wild animals. Elk, moose, bear, pronghorn, and many other large mammals travel across Colorado’s landscape in search of habitat, food, water, and a safe place to raise their young. Colorado’s quickly growing population, and the resulting growth of its transportation networks, is in direct conflict with traditional migration routes for many of these animals and herds. When animals and humans meet on Colorado’s roads, the outcome isn’t pretty; there are a number of forces working to change that right here in the Centennial State.

For over two years, CDR has been working with the Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and federal agencies, local organizations, sportsmen’s groups, engineers, and nonprofits to establish and grow the Colorado Wildlife and Transportation Alliance. You can see our work with the Alliance evolve here and here.

This past August, something new and exciting happened. Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed Executive Order, D 2019 011, Conserving Colorado’s Big Game Winter Range and Migration Corridors.

“Colorado’s natural beauty and wildlife are part of why so many people love our great state,” said Governor Polis. “This is a step toward better understanding and protecting the migratory patterns of Colorado’s wildlife populations and ensuring we can preserve our treasured animals and their habitats.”

In a Press Release, the Governor’s Office highlighted one of the most iconic wildlife crossings in the state. “Colorado has seen success with a number of wildlife passages around the state, most notably with Highway 9 south of Kremmling through the Blue River Valley. Over an 11 year stretch, there were more than 650 wildlife-vehicle collisions on this section of highway. Through collaboration, a wildlife passage project was completed in November 2016 and consists of two wildlife overpass structures, five wildlife underpasses, 10.4 miles of eight-foot-high wildlife exclusion fencing, 61 wildlife escape ramps, and 29 wildlife guards to help reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions while providing safe passages for wildlife.”

This is important not only to connect animals to their natural habitat, but for human safety as well. In addition to charging Colorado DNR with studying migration corridors and their intersection with Colorado roads, as well as CDOT with incorporating big game migration considerations into planning, the EO also underscores the importance of the Alliance and strengthening partnerships around Wildlife and Transportation issues. This is big news for all Colorado residents – both two legged and four!

Introducing Tracy Winfree

Tracy joins CDR after almost 30 years of work in Front Range communities.
Tracy joins CDR after almost 30 years of work in Front Range communities.
Tracy joins CDR after almost 30 years of work in Front Range communities.

Tracy Winfree joins CDR Associates following an almost 30-year history of meaningful work in Front Range communities. Tracy’s diverse background with the City of Boulder included serving as director of three different departments: Director of Public Works for Transportation for over 13 years, interim Director of Parks and Recreation for six months, and Director of Open Space and Mountain Parks for over 3 years. After her retirement from the City of Boulder, Tracy served a six-month interim role as neighboring City of Louisville’s Director for Parks, Recreation & Open Space, while Louisville’s City Manager did a national placement search. Tracy was on the 36 Commuting Solutions board, serving twice as chair, and served on the Regional Air Quality Council board.

Tracy’s leadership of diverse local government operations has included developing and implementing policy; advancing progressive planning and projects for multimodal corridors and innovative transit systems; overseeing complex management of Open Space lands balancing habitat preservation and recreation and visitor access and agriculture activities; leading organizational change to improve structure, workflow, and collaboration; supporting transparent community engagement; advancing business process improvements to improve strategic budgeting, work planning, and prioritization; participating in employee group contract negotiations through interest-based bargaining; and working collaboratively on the regional level to advance projects of mutual interest to benefit the broader community.

CDR’s emphasis on helping governments and agencies at all levels often has transportation, land, and/or water management at the heart of an underlying community interest. Tracy brings her commitment to community service, and her skills and experience to CDR with the goal of helping organizations capitalize on opportunities of mutual interest and navigate the challenges that many agencies face. Tracy’s insights related to how organizations work forms the basis of sound advice and strategy for continuous improvement, benefitting workplace culture and effectiveness while also improving service to the community.

Tracy graduated with honors from Princeton University with a degree in Architecture and completed the University of Virginia Business School – Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service: Leading Educating and Developing (LEAD) Program.

Away from the profession, Tracy can be found playing outdoors with family and friends — hiking mountain trails, body surfing ocean waves, biking roads and bikeways — and probably not playing card and board games, or anything else inactive, for that matter. Tracy and her husband, Bryan, enjoy traveling and adventuring locally and beyond, especially when it includes their two children.

Welcome Tracy to the CDR team at twinfree@mediate.org.

Project Update: I-70 Mountain Corridor, Peak Period Shoulder Lane


2019 marks the beginning of the construction phase of the I-70 Mountain Corridor Westbound Peak Period Shoulder Lane (PPSL) Project. This exciting project will reduce congestion and improve safety on a 12-mile stretch of the I-70 Corridor in Clear Creek County, particularly on weekends when crowds are flooding to-and-from their mountain adventures and the Denver metro area. This 12-mile section of the I-70 Mountain Corridor – winding through Clear Creek County and towns including Idaho Springs, Georgetown, and Empire – is a critical interstate corridor, but has become a source of frustration for local residents and tourists alike due to weekend traffic, congestion and extended travel times.

For the last two years, CDR has worked with CDOT on a Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) NEPA and design proves including stakeholder engagement, public involvement, meeting facilitation and mediation during the CSS Design Phase of the Project. The final Design Plans and Specifications are under final review, and the Construction Phase of the corridor improvement process will begin in March 2019. CDR will continue to facilitate a Project Leadership Team (PLT), made up of local jurisdictions, CDOT and the Federal Highway Administration to oversee the development of a Public Information Plan, construction scheduling and change orders, and the review and monitoring of the design agreements as they are translated into on-the-ground construction decisions.

In addition to the PLT, there will be a Project Information Leadership Team (PILT) made up of corridor stakeholders and impacted agencies. The PILT will develop a robust messaging campaign throughout the construction of the project to assure coordinated, consistent and accurate communication throughout the entire corridor. This team will also lead weekly update “snapshot” calls that are open to the community and will respond to public comment and inquiry.

CDR is committed to providing facilitation support services, process design and community engagement services to CDOT and impacted communities throughout the Construction Phase of the Project. The two-year construction timeline will begin in the Summer of 2019 with the intent to open the new westbound Peak Period Shoulder managed lanes in the Summer of 2021.

Notes From the Field: Historic Georgetown Inc. Facilitation


As facilitators, CDR’s Taber Ward and Emily Zmak understand the importance that location plays in a successful facilitation. The location sets the tone, the literal atmosphere, and provides space for effective engagement. And so, for our client Historic Georgetown, Inc., there was no better location to facilitate their Board Retreat and Strategic Planning Session than a historic schoolhouse–complete with chalkboard walls, squeaky floorboards, and windows overlooking Georgetown, Colorado.

Nestled in a quiet Front Range valley, Georgetown is a small mountain community with deep historic roots. The town’s character is tied to its silver mine legacy, Victorian-era architecture, mountain scenery, and, subsequently, the tourism that supports the town today. Tourists flock to Georgetown, often drawn in from the I-70 thoroughfare, and take in the town’s train rides, shopping, historic landmarks, and annual Christmas Market.    

Historic Georgetown, Inc. (HGI), is the premier institution behind preserving and promoting awareness of Georgetown’s historic character. HGI oversees multiple landmark sites in Georgetown, organized public engagement opportunities, supports historic homeowners, and hosts the annual Christmas Market. When an HGI board member asked CDR to facilitate the HGI Board’s strategic planning retreat, it was an opportunity that Taber Ward described as “an honor and chance to contribute to Colorado’s mountaintown legacy and unique, historic import.”   

Facilitating the Board meetings for Historic Georgetown was an exciting opportunity for CDR’s Taber and Emily. Taber has worked throughout the Front Range I-70 Corridor on public involvement projects, and brought a strong understanding of the various challenges faced by Colorado’s mountain communities. Working with HGI was an opportunity for Taber to focus on just one of these challenges: maintaining and preserving historic character. “For me,” Taber said, “it was great to support a town that has been so involved in the I-70 mountain corridor project and invested in protecting the character of Georgetown.  Emily had been with CDR for just three weeks and HGI was her first client project. It was an opportunity for her to support a project start-to-finish, from strategic planning retreat design and one-on-one interviews to facilitation and follow-up. She said, “This project was such an amazing way to on-board with CDR. I was learning something new every minute.”

The Board Strategic Planning retreat resulted in agreement around HGI’s five-year vision, direction, purpose, clarity of roles and responsibilities, and action plan — which is no easy feat for a half-day retreat. The agenda for the day was action-oriented. Through a visioning process, facilitated dialogue, group work, and consensus-building, the Board determined concrete steps for implementing change and enhancing their strengths.

National Highway Institute: Public Involvement and Conflict Management Training


Following twenty years of developing and delivering training programs for the National Highway Institute (the training-arm of the Federal Highway Administration), CDR has been awarded a new contract to continue delivering two separate training programs in public involvement and conflict management. The courses bring together transportation, planning professionals from state and federal agencies. CDR brings over 40 years of experience this contract with robust conceptual frameworks, practical tips and opportunities for participants to develop fundamental skills. CDR looks forward to continuing our work helping to increase stakeholder engagement, resolve problems and facilitate decision making in the environmental and transportation context.