The CAIC and FoCAIC Partnership

The relationship between the CAIC and the Friends of CAIC is an important public-private partnership that provides backcountry avalanche forecasts for everyone in Colorado–as well as; avalanche education for as many people as we can reach. The partnership allows FoCAIC staff to go to events, write grants, and build partnerships on behalf of the mission. And it keeps the CAIC staff in the snow so they can provide the best avalanche forecasts possible for you, the user.

The FoCAIC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that was created to financially support avalanche forecasting and education throughout Colorado. We accomplish this through fundraising that includes grant writing, events, individual fundraising, corporate partnerships, and our annual spring fundraising campaign. The FoCAIC has 5 full time staff members that work out of home offices and from the road throughout the winter. FoCAIC also has a small Board of Directors that guides the mission of the organization and oversees the ED. The FoCAIC is the private side of the partnership.

The CAIC is a program within the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, a state government agency. They have 20 staff that work out of 8 offices that cover the mountainous areas of Colorado. The CAIC is the public side of the partnership. The mission of the CAIC is to provide avalanche information, education and promote research for the protection of life, property and the enhancement of the state’s economy. These are the folks that produce the weather and backcountry avalanche forecasts. They teach avalanche classes to school kids, university students, and avalanche workers. The CAIC also works with CDOT to reduce the threat of avalanches to the State Transportation System.

The CAIC’s highway operations are funded and conducted through an intergovernmental agreement with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to provide training and forecasting for highway maintenance operations. The CAIC’s backcountry forecasting operations are funded through several different avenues including; The Severance Tax Fund, a partnership with the United States Forest Service, fees for providing avalanche training to professional groups, and from the fundraising efforts of the Friends of CAIC. The FoCAIC support allows for a more robust backcountry forecasting and education program here in Colorado. The current program could not have been built with tax dollars alone. We need a strong public-private partnership to sustain it and hopefully improve it in the future.