In the heart of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado is the Rocky Mountain Ecological Area, home to millions of animals.
Some of those animals live in the wilderness, some in the city, some on the roads.
But all of them are protected by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
A large section of the landscape was designated a wilderness in 2005, and the National Park Service has been monitoring the area for the past several years to make sure it’s protected from human encroachment.
“It’s a very fragile ecosystem,” said David O’Brien, executive director of the Colorado Wilderness Council.
“We have a very limited understanding of what’s happening there, and there are a lot of questions that need to be answered.”
The agency has a wide range of resources to help manage the area, including the Rocky Plateau Protection and Restoration Fund, which has spent more than $1.2 billion on the area.
In the past, the government has provided grants for research into how wild animals like elk and deer are affected by climate change.
But the money has been limited.
It’s only been available since 2009.
The Rocky Mountain Park Service estimates that there’s a $100 million shortfall in the fund, and that needs to be addressed before the funding expires in 2019.
That would mean more than 5,000 acres of the park could be closed to humans and the environment.
“Our hope is to continue to help protect our area, but we need to also keep the ecosystem in balance,” O’Briens said.
The lack of funding has created a crisis for the park service.
Since 2009, it has spent $1 billion on its response to the Rocky Mammoth Project, which aims to restore habitat for elk, elk antelope and other wildlife in the park.
The program is overseen by the Rocky Mountaineers Foundation, which is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Science Foundation, and other sources.
But it’s not easy for the foundation to raise funds, O’O’Brien said.
“This is not something we could have done without the public, and it’s also something we would have needed more funding to do,” he said.
To help the Rocky Mtaineers fund projects like the Rocky Mine Project, the Rocky Forest Foundation was formed in 2014, and its goal is to help the government make the project happen.
The foundation’s executive director, Jennifer Miller, said the Rocky Park Service is a great partner for the Rocky River Basin, but the agency is a little behind on funding.
“The funding for the forest is going to be really critical,” she said.
Miller said the park has made progress in recent years on the conservation of habitat and protecting wildlife, but it’s still missing something.
“You don’t have the same amount of funding that we have for the parks in Colorado, and I think it’s really important that the public and the private sector, and people from outside of Colorado, understand that the Rocky region has an important role in the conservation and the restoration of our landscapes.”
The foundation also supports the Rocky Area Fund, a fund that helps the park preserve and protect a variety of natural resources.
In 2017, it provided more than 1.4 million acres of wilderness to local residents and businesses.
“There’s a huge demand for that, and we have to make some tough choices,” Miller said.
For example, some local residents are pushing for the creation of a Wilderness Preservation District.
A district is a district in the Rocky mountains that’s open to the public.
That means the area has to be managed in a way that is consistent with the RockyMountaineers.org and Rocky Mountain National Park Conservation Plan.
“As we get closer to the 2020 deadline, we’ll start to see the impact that the wilderness areas are having on our parks,” Miller told CBC News.
The state has also provided more funds to the area since 2009, but has not yet allocated them to the park system.
Miller hopes that the money will be enough to meet the needs of local residents.
“They’re our people and they’re our community, and this is something that we need,” she explained.