Wild Connections: Mapping Potential Wilderness Areas

By Tyler Grimes

Up the East Gulch from its confluence with the Arkansas River, a few miles east of Texas Creek in Fremont County, is Echo Canyon. Further up the gulch, Table Mountain looms to the southwest, past Bull Ridge.

Surrounding this mountain, gulch and canyon are 32,000 acres of roadless Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. The area is classified under the BLM’s Area of Critical Environment Concern (ACEC) because of its valued species: a BLM Instant Study Area protecting 17 native grasses: and its importance as a wildlife corridor for mountain lion, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, black bear, elk, mule deer, pronghorn, Gunnison prairie dog, wild turkey, peregrine falcon, Mexican spotted owl, great blue heron and bald eagle. Conservation Science Partners (CSP) recognizes 7,641 acres of Table Mountain as having “important ecologically based indicators of high biodiversity, resilience to climate change, and landscape connectivity.” The unit is deemed one of Central Colorado Wilderness Coalition’s (CCWC) top 11 areas worthy of wilderness designation. 

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From the Editor – Up at the Lake

by Mike Rosso One Saturday this past month found me sitting on the banks of Upper Waterdog Lake, on the north side of Monarch Pass. It’s a steep but short hike to the lake, which resides at about 11,500 feet, and it is one of my favorite spots to relax and enjoy nature. Earlier that …

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Browns Gets Its Day in the Sun

About 230 people showed up on a chilly but sunny day in Nathrop for a listening session on Browns Canyon hosted by Colorado Sen. Mark Udall on April 13.

They were there to discuss concerns, voice opposition and to show support for legislation that Udall plans to introduce that would create a national monument and wilderness area designation for the 22,000 acres that lie east of the Arkansas River, about halfway between Salida and Buena Vista.

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Beaver Creek Wilderness Study Area

 By Mike Rosso

The Beaver Creek Wilderness Study Area (BCWSA), near Penrose, is a hidden gem encompassing nearly 27,020 acres. Administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), a portion – 13,734 acres – is within an Area of Critical Environmental Concern. As part of the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act, the BLM was directed to inventory areas for their wilderness characteristics. These areas are known as Wilderness Study Areas (WSA). Until Congress makes a final decision either to designate these areas as wilderness or release them for other multiple uses, the BLM manages WSAs to preserve their suitability for designation as wilderness.

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From the Editor

Browns Canyon

Back in November 2009, we wrote extensively about the proposed Browns Canyon Wilderness Area in central Chaffee County (Colorado Central, No. 189). Recently there has been some major movement on the possibility of wilderness and/or national monument designation for the area on the part of Sen. Mark Udall. Our current congresscritter, Doug Lamborn – apparently due to some lingering animosity towards his predecessor – has chosen not to pursue years of negotiations on the scenic, diverse and remote 23,000 acres of Forest Service and BLM land, but now he is getting rightly nudged aside with the proposals put forth by Udall.

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Out of the Wild

by Abby Quillen

I grew up in Central Colorado, and most weekends my family piled into a canary-yellow 1975 Chevy pickup and pitched down rutted-out, rock-strewn roads to hike, explore, or cross-country ski at places with names like Mosquito Pass, Missouri Gulch, and Cochetopa Creek.

By the time my sister and I were 18, we’d both sucked in the thin air on top of a 14,000 foot mountain, run across high-mountain meadows, visited too many ghost towns to list, waded barefoot in ice-cold streams, and spent countless nights sleeping with only a tent and a sleeping bag between our bodies and the hard, cold ground.

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Permit rejected for ski film on wilderness 14ers

Brief by Allen Best

Wilderness – June 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

A filmmaker has been refused permission to make movies of Chris Davenport skiing down 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado.

Ben Galland had sought a permit to film Davenport skiing on the peaks. Filming had already occurred on Castle Peak and possibly others in the Elk Range. All are located within federally designated wilderness areas.

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Wilderness as marketing

Brief by Central Staff

Wilderness – May 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

The American philosopher Henry David Thoreau once observed that “in Wildness is the preservation of the World.” It may also be a marketing tool these days.

During the April congressional recess, Rep. Doug Lamborn visited Chaffee County to listen to supporters and opponents of the proposed Brown’s Canyon Wilderness Area.

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Broader definition of security

Letter from Warren Nolan

Wilderness – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine


In the post 9- 11 era of war, rumors of war, floods, famine, rising seas, and hurricane, I wonder if the idea of wilderness (roadless areas) isn’t quaint, isn’t a luxury, isn’t superfluous, isn’t irrelevant Doesn’t the ferocious unarguable issue of homeland security trump all else?

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Sensing solitude

Letter from Allen Best

Wilderness – August 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine


In reviewing the revised edition of the Roderick Nash classic on wilderness, you point out one of the ironies of designated wilderness, namely that designation sometimes (maybe even often) directly correlates with increased visitation and hence loss of solitude. Indeed, the quietest, least-visited places on public lands may be those unsexy leftovers, the BLM lands.

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Everyone must be able to afford wilderness

Essay by ‘Asta Bowen

Wilderness – July 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

AT THIS YEAR’S International Wildlife Film Festival, held each spring in Montana, I worried a little about the price of admission. Not that moviegoers were balking; these days, $7.00 for an evening of world-class films doesn’t seem too far out of line, and it certainly didn’t keep the theater from filling up for the Friday night screening.

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