Who We Are

Founded in 1988, the San Juan Mountains Association (SJMA), promotes the exploration and protection of public lands in Southwest Colorado through stewardship and conservation education for people of all ages.

EXPLORE: Through our wide-ranging visitor information centers, we provide guidance on where to go and how to enjoy the outdoors safely and responsibly.

LEARN: Through in-school lessons, field trips, summer camps, afterschool programs, interpretive hikes for adults and community events, we aim to inspire conservation ethics in all ages, .

PROTECT: Through paid and volunteer stewardship programs, we help protect natural and cultural resources and encourage public lands visitors to minimize their impact.

Our Goals

We commit to building an organization widely recognized for conservation education and public lands stewardship by:
  • Providing education and stewardship programs that are impactful and contribute to meaningful change in participants' actions on the landscape.
  • Encouraging public land visitors to recreate responsibly while minimizing impacts to nature resources
  • Cerate stewardship programs that are of value to federal land partners and make a noticeable improvement on the landscape.
  • Becoming a top-end nonprofit organization, reflecting best practices in organizational management and financial stability.
  • Ensure people of all cultures and backgrounds have equitable access to the public lands of the Southwest Colorado.


In pursuit of our mission, we commit to embracing these organizational values:
  • We reach out to all ages and demographics of people and respect all users of public lands, striving for equitable access to public lands and our programs.
  • We approach teaching and learning with empathy and curiosity, working hand-in-hand with the people, partners and communities we serve to understand and involve them.
  • We face challenges head-on, using science-based knowledge and creativity to find innovative and effective solutions.
  • We are dedicated leaders with strong commitments to collaboration, teamwork, accountability and producing a high standard of work products and services.


Each month, an SJMA staff or volunteer contributes to Stewards of the Lands column in the Durango Herald. Check out articles ranging from first-hand accounts from our Forest Ambassadors to our educator's passionate retelling of watching kids learn to why SJMA merged with Durango Nature Studies in 2020 and so much more!

In fall 2020, following the merger with Durango Nature Studies, SJMA embarked on efforts to develop our strategic plan engaging the SJMA Board of Directors, staff, volunteers, partners and community members to refine our goals and vision for the future.

Every spring and fall, SJMA sends out a printed newsletter to our members highlighting our stewardship, conservation education and visitor information programs.


We can't do all of this great work without the support of our contributors and volunteers! Please consider becoming a member, volunteering and / or supporting us with a financial contribution.