Photography provided by Jill Young and Aaron Lewis

The Center For Public Lands (CPL) sponsors projects and partnerships involving public lands stewardship, outreach, and problem solving. CPL focuses on community oriented problem-solving to protect public lands for citizens and ensure the ecological integrity of our landscapes.


Our Mission

“We cultivate diverse action for public lands through community-based collaboration and education.”


Core Values

Diversity, equity, inclusion

○ Collaboration

○ Action-oriented

○ Community-based

○ Science-driven

Our PurPose

The Center for Public Lands (CPL) at Western Colorado University is a training and resource center connecting students, land managers, and communities in a collaborative manner with our public lands. The Center provides opportunities for experiential and classroom learning, project development, and public engagement.  Because people value public lands in diverse ways, the Center creates and sustains unlikely partnerships and holistic conversations.  A well-educated public and a well-trained workforce are vital to managing and stewarding dynamic landscapes.


Training and Education

The Center connects students to environmental agencies and nongovernmental entities to meet their academic requirements while helping move those organizations’ missions forward.  Students progress towards their professional goals, groups accomplish needed work, and together they protect important ecosystems and social institutions.  We highly value diversity and inclusion, and aim to connect with people from marginalized and underserved communities to provide the highest quality and affordable educational experience.



Collaboration sits at the focal point of our program.  CPL supports environmental projects that bring together diverse stakeholders, providing resources ranging from technical assistance to faculty expertise.  Our platform of projects allows for different perspectives and expertise to converge in the management of land and water in the American West and globally.


Public Engagement

Throughout the year, the Center invites the public to attend workshops, symposia, and other events designed to promote conversation. The purpose of these events is to equip participants with tools and resources to learn, develop and apply best practices for collaborative conservation and land stewardship in their communities.