Future of the Colorado Plateau Forum

This series provides an opportunity for the community to engage directly with the region’s decision-makers and opinion leaders on issues issues impacting the environmental, social, and economic future of the Colorado Plateau, one of North America’s most geographically and culturally diverse regions. 

The forum’s ”living documentary" format supports civil, civic discourse. Presenters are chosen for their ability to effectively describe their involvement in the chosen issue. They are not seated in front of the room as a panel of experts, but are seated alongside public participants at large tables scattered throughout the room. After a series of short "stories" from the presenters, participants are given the opportunity to meet in groups with whichever presenter(s) they choose in order to contribute their own knowledge and perspectives to the larger story. The new groups then report their contributions to the entire assembly. The result is that everyone has a very real opportunity to share ideas and solutions with everyone in attendance. Participants are then sent a follow-up survey to choose the best solutions for implementation.

Presented by MNA and the Grand Canyon Trust, with support from Coconino County, Geo Family Foundation, Landscape Conservation Initiative at NAU, City of Flagstaff BBB Revenues, and the Flagstaff Arts Council.

Free and open to the public. Space is limited. Pre-registration required.

Upcoming Forums

Water Challenges: Part One
Wednesday, January 25, 6-8 pm

Join us for a community discussion. The American Southwest is drying out. Climate change, drought and low water levels in the Mead and Powell reservoirs grab the headlines, but on the Coconino Plateau our water future depends largely on old water-our aquifers. In part one of this two part series, participants will explore the hydrology and condition of our region's groundwater, who owns it and who controls its use. Enjoy brief presentations and break out sessions with the following presenters: Ron Doba (Coconino Plateau Watershed Partnership), Jamie Macy (USGS), Jason John (Navajo Nation), Doug Dunham (Arizona Department of Water Resources) and Brad Hill (City of Flagstaff). Hosted by Dr. Abe Springer (Professor of Hydrogeology, NAU).

Past Forums

This Land is Our Land
Wednesday, August 24, 6-8 pm

Join the Museum of Northern Arizona and Grand Canyon Trust as we explore opportunities for increased and more diverse public participation in the management of public lands on the southern Colorado Plateau. After brief presentations, participants will have the opportunity to engage with presenters during break-out sessions. Presenters include: Mandy Metzger (Flying M Ranch), Carletta Tilousi (Havasupai Tribe), Heather Provencio (Kaibab National Forest), Ethan Aumack (Grand Canyon Trust) and Liz Archuleta (HECHO/Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting and the Outdoors). Hosted by Dr. Tom Sisk, director of The Land and Conservation Institute at Northern Arizona University.

Who Speaks for Public Lands? (And Who's Listening?)
Wednesday, June 15, 6-7:30 pm

Who should control and manage millions of acres of public lands in the American West? Join us for a lively conversation on the future of our national inheritance. Featured panelists include: Paul Larmer, Executive Director/Publisher, High Country News; Sarah Krakoff,  Professor of Law, University of Colorado Boulder; Kieran Suckling, Executive Director, Center for Biological Diversity; and Jim Enote, Director, A:shiwi A:wan Museum & Heritage Center, Zuni, New Mexico. Moderated by Bill Hedden, Executive Director, Grand Canyon Trust.

Growing Green: Producing & Selling Local Food in Northern Arizona

Meet the entrepreneurs leading Flagstaff’s local food revolution. This forum will inspire conversations on how to grow and improve local food production and to create a space for individuals to showcase and share techniques and solutions to be a successful green entrepreneur.

Reconciliation Ecology: Visions of Flagstaff as a City & Habitat

As climate change impacts the Colorado Plateau, the survival of native plants and animals will hinge on our ability to build communities in a more compatible way with our surrounding ecosystem. Join ecologist and evolutionary biologist Dr. Michael L. Rosenzweig of the University of Arizona, and plant ecologist Ted Martinez of Northern Arizona University, for a lively presentation and community discussion on practical steps of action to live more sustainably on the Colorado Plateau.

Recreation: Impacts on the Lands We Love

Explore the interconnectedness of the health of local environments with the continued enjoyment of the trails, roads, rivers, and pathways that carry us through them. As the population of the Colorado Plateau grows, and the popularity of outdoor recreation grows concurrently, fact-based public dialog on land management, ecosystem health, and long-term economic benefit become increasingly important. Local researchers, land managers, and recreational advocates will constitute a panel to introduce and frame this topic.

In recent years, the Western United States has seen an alarming increase in wildfires that are massive in scale (100,000+ acres), unpredictable in behavior, and destructive to forest ecosystems. These have come to be known as “megafires”, and the Colorado Plateau sits at the center of this new trend. Instead of renewing the fire adapted ecosystems of the region, megafires are permanently altering landscapes, endangering human communities, and placing key habitats—like the iconic Ponderosa forests of the region—at risk. Researchers, foresters, and restoration specialists are working hard to learn how to avoid such catastrophic fires, how to respond appropriately in the event of these fires, and what to do for areas where megafires have already passed.

Drought and the Colorado River Forum
As part of Flagstaff's Colorado River Days, the next Future of the Colorado Plateau forum examines the impacts of drought on the Colorado River. The Plateau is warming and drought persists. Across the Colorado River basin, organizations and agencies are trying to keep healthy flows in the Colorado River while meeting legal mandates for water delivery. Hear from those trying to find a path forward. Sponsored in partnership with the Glen Canyon Institute and Sierra Club. Read panelist bios

Made possible by the generous support of the Coconino County Board of Supervisors