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Following the Cache la Poudre River, the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA) provides the opportunity to celebrate the river’s cultural and historical contributions to Northern Colorado through education and recreation.

As the managing nonprofit entity for the Heritage Area, the goal of the Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA) is to build a deeper understanding of the Poudre River’s national significance including its role in influencing water development, water law, and water management through interpretive and educational programming and media.

"[Grants received from PHA] are helping our organization to preserve open spaces, reconnect the river to its natural form and connect our community to the Poudre River history and natural environment. Both projects will have a significant effect on future generations, helping to get the community involved in nature and creating ample opportunities for learners of all ages…"

Wade Willis, Town of Windsor in letter to Congressman Cory Gardner



Maintain and enhance the capacity of PHA to accomplish its mission as the administering entity of the Heritage Area.


Tell the story of the CALA through interpretive amenities, educational programs and research projects that broaden public awareness of the Heritage Area, thereby enhancing its sense of place and strengthening its value to the community.

Striking a Balance

Encourage balance within the CALA between the preservation of natural, cultural and economic resources, public access to the Cache la Poudre River, and the rights of private property owners to the use and enjoyment of their lands.

Planning for Tourism

Develop and promote the CALA as a premiere nature and heritage tourism destination and a resource for local and regional economic development.

Programs & Projects



In 2015, PHA developed a new Heritage Culturalist Program in which participants are awarded certification after completing the training program. Through the training, participants are able to assist PHA with a number of events and programs. The first session took place in March 2016 with a two and a half day classroom and field training program. Volunteers must also donate 40 hours of time over two years to share knowledge of the CALA with the public. The program was funded in part by the Active Trails Grant 2016.


While doing some research, Heritage Culturalists unearthed the importance of the Council Tree site in Fort Collins to the Northern Arapaho Tribe. PHA met with the tribe at the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming to discuss how the story could be told. The result was an interpretive sign and three videos of tribe elders sharing their thoughts and stories about the area. 


PHA provides a year-long Employee Wellness Program that takes place outdoors on the Poudre River Trail throughout the National Heritage Area. This program was made possible in part by a grant from the National Park Foundation through the generous support of the Coca-Cola Company and the Coca-Cola Foundation.

Alliance of National Heritage Areas Regional conference

PHA hosted the fall conference of the Alliance of National Heritage Areas on October 2016. It encompassed two days of training and presentations along with a field trip to multiple historic sites and learning facilities. Participant also met with representatives for Senator Gardner, Senator Bennett and Rocky Mountain National Park.


Learning In Our Watershed Bus Scholarship Program

Schools are able to apply for scholarships to take students on field trips that foster the study of water law history and water development to develop an understanding of place, and the natural and human resources that we use and conserve. 


PHA worked with the owners of nearby farms, which were eligible for the National Historic Register, to create a wayside sign and video archive to document the historical nature of the area. 









PHA Contributions: $121,700 (16%)

Contributions from other sources: $653,764 (84%)

For every $1 of federal money contributed to communities in the Heritage Area, $5.37 was contributed by public/private funding sources



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2016 funding & expenses


TOTAL: $373K

US National Park Service Appropriation: $333K (89%)

Non-Federal Income: $40K (11%)


TOTAL: $292K

Salaries & Contract Labor: $153K (52%)

Large Grants: $49K (17%)

Our Programs: $33K (11%)

Events/Sponsorships: $24K (8%)

Facility Lease: $13K (4%)

Supplies & Services: $10K (3%)

Travel & Training: $8K (3%)

Education: $2K (1%)

Small Grants: $635 (<1%)

Non-Federal Expenses: $148 (<1%)




Karen Scopel, at large


Bob Overbeck, City of Fort Collins Councilman


Bill Miller, at large


Bill Bertschy, Friends of the Poudre


Gary Buffington, Larimer County Natural Resources

Wade Willis, Town of Windsor

Everett Kissler, Central Colorado Water Conservancy District

Robert Ward, at large

Richard Brady, at large

Julie Cozad, Weld County Commissioner

Rebecca Safarik, City of Greeley

Ray Tschillard, Poudre Learning Center

Brian Werner, Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District

Ex-officio Members

Curtis Youngman, District Ranger - Pawnee national Grassland

Larry Gamble, Rocky Mountain National Park

executive director

Kathleen Benedict


Susan Scott