Colorado Economic Recovery and Accountability

MS Forest LLC

MS Forest LLC.

MS Forest Crew

"If we didn't have this grant, MS Forest would be closed."

MS Forest LLC, a forestry company in Las Animas County, is surviving the economic down turn because of a $1 million Recovery Act grant from the Colorado State Forest Service. The company is named after Mary Shaw, who opened the business with her husband, Scott Canda in 1985 in southern Colorado. Over the years, the company grew to 53 workers. But starting in 2007, the company, located in Aguilar, just north of Trinidad, was forced to lay off workers. By the fall of 2009, the company was down to nine employees - including the Canda's, their son Scott and their daughter Kassie Carley. Ms. Carley and her parents fretted about the company's future as opportunities for work dwindled away. Then they saw the announcement about grants through the Colorado State Forest Service. Ms. Carley jumped on the opportunity and whipped together an application within weeks and hand-delivered it to the forest service office in Fort Collins in late September 2009. They learned they had won the $1 million grant a few weeks later.


"It was the best day of our lives when we found out we were going to get this grant," Ms. Carley said. "I had many sleepless nights in October as we awaited announcement of the recipients, knowing that if we were not awarded, we would be facing laying off the remaining few families who were depending on us."


The grant allowed the company to hire three full-time workers they had laid off in 2007. The three men - Robert "Auggie" Franklin, Cory Miller and Michael Mender - were hired back in December 2009. The company will implement forest restoration treatments and tree thinning across 750 acres surrounding the North Lake Watershed, Trinidad's primary source of drinking water. Forest restoration will protect the forests of the watershed from catastrophic fire, insect infestation, and disease therefore preserving the water supply for the City of Trinidad and the ranchers and residents on the Purgatoire River drainage. This project has been a top priority for the community but there was no money until the Recovery Act grant was announced.


Ms. Carley said she couldn't over-emphasize the importance of this grant. "If we didn't have this grant, M S Forest would be closed."


Ms. Carley and the other employees at MS Forest can be reached at


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