History and Prehistory


mountain topThe public lands managed by the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and the Pawnee National Grassland have witnessed countless generations of humans.

For almost 13,000 years this area has been home to Native Americans, Fur Trappers, Homesteaders, Livestock Ranchers, Tie Hackers, Loggers, Miners, and Recreationalists.








A man hacks RR tiesAll of those people left behind a rich heritage that can be discovered through the physical remains they left behind.

While much is understood about the broad patterns of the past, those physical remains hold clues to how people spent their everyday lives.









A picture of Euro-AmericansBefore European/American settlement, this area was predominately Ute and Arapaho territory, but many other tribes frequented this area such as the: Cheyenne, Kiowa, Apache, Comanche, Pawnee, Lakota, and Shoshone.







To learn more about the people, places and events that have helped shape our Forest explore one of the links below.


  • Learn about the history of Shadow Mountain Village: a construction town built for the Colorado–Big Thompson water diversion project located west of the Continental Divide near present-day Granby.
  • View historic photos and learn about the people who helped to make Poudre Canyon west of Fort Collins into the popular recreation area it is today.
  • Learn how the Pawnee National Grasslands was settled and the part it played in the history of settling the West.