The Colorado Trail in Crisis addresses the sweeping transformation of western forests and wilderness ecosystems affected by climate change. This book is equal parts trail journal and synthesis of natural and human history. Karl Ford uses research on climate impacts to forests, wildlife, hydrology, and more to stress the urgent need for an action plan to reduce greenhouse gases and save forests and watersheds.
Using his hike along the popular five-hundred-mile Colorado Trail to present his personal observations about more than a hundred miles of dead and dying forest, Karl Ford presents a brief environmental history of these areas of the state, weaving in scientific studies about forest mortality caused by insect infestations, wildfire, drought, and loss of snowpack, and describes the poor current prospects for reforestation as the climate continues to warm. His own Lakota ancestry, as well as historical references to local Tabeguache Ute Chief Ouray and displaced Ute populations, meaningfully frames important conversations about caretaking and connection to place. Ford also proposes potential solutions to drought and forest mortality problems, as well as varying approaches and limitations to mitigation efforts.
The Colorado Trail in Crisis appeals to hikers and nature lovers seeking to learn about the natural history, beauty, and serenity of the Colorado Trail, as well as students, conservationists, and scientists researching climate change effects on Colorado mountain ecosystems.