Carcaterra will be helping people in his new job, too |

Carcaterra will be helping people in his new job, too

Steve Carcaterra’s experiences with LIFT-UP may serve him well as he works with ranchers on the White River National Forest.

In both instances, it’s all about helping people who are struggling to hang on.

Fewer and fewer ranchers are able to stay in business, and Carcaterra said he doesn’t see that trend changing.

He has seen it not only in Colorado, but back east, where agricultural lands also have been sold due to the high value placed on them by developers.

The WRNF is primarily a recreation-based forest these days, but some ranching remains on the forest. Carcaterra hopes that conservation easements and other creative tools will be used by governments and private foundations to keep ranchland in agricultural production.

“I’m pretty passionate about that. I think it’s important to keep in a community its agricultural base,” he said.

Carcaterra will serve the eastern half of the WRNF, including the Eagle, Dillon and Holy Cross ranger districts.

“It’s quite a bit of territory – pretty nice territory, actually,” he said.

He joins the WRNF just as its final long-range management plan is about to be released. The creation of that plan has been the subject of much controversy in recent years, including on the issue of grazing on the forest.

While Carcaterra is aware that some oppose public lands grazing, he believes others have come to accept the practice because it helps preserve agriculture. For them, “keeping ranchers in the community is worth a little manure on their mountain bike tires,” he said.

His job is to take all views into account in trying to manage the land, he said.

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