USFS Pike-San Isabel National Forest Wet Mountains Project
Public Comment Period: Sept. 21 - Oct. 22, 2018
Greenhorn Mountain Wilderness in the Wet Mountains. Photo Colorado Springs Gazette.
The USFS Pike-San Isabel National Forest also has a scoping public comment period open, for an East-Central Wet Mountains Project in the San Carlos Ranger District. This project is designed to conduct fuels and vegetation treatments and has a public comment period that is open until Oct. 22. 2018.
Wild Connections 2018-2019 South Park Alpine Restoration Projects, made possible in part by Park County Lands and Water Trust Fund
In the summer of 2018, Wild Connections, working with long-time partners, USFS South Park Ranger District, Mosquito Range Heritage Initiative (MRHI), and Wildlands Restoration Volunteers (WRV), completed two large South Park Alpine restoration projects, in a series of South Park restoration projects that will continue into 2019. The headwaters of both North Tarryall Creek and Beaver Creek in the USFS South Park Ranger District had been negatively impacted by illegal motorized activity, which heavily damaged the alpine wildlife habitat and connectivity, as well as these riparian areas and watersheds. Over three full workdays in August 2018, Wild Connections and partners, with 40-50 volunteers each day, completed projects to reclaim about two miles of illegal road via raking, seeding, and mulching at North Tarryall Creek, located west of Como, and another mile at Beaver Creek, just north of Fairplay. This was followed up with a successful two-day project in September to construct a non-motorized trail at Beaver Creek.
Wild Connections and our partners are excited to continue these important South Park Alpine restoration projects into 2019, with additional restoration work at Beaver Creek, as well as Sheep Mountain, located west of Fairplay. This work was made possible in part by the Park County Land and Water Trust Fund. The LWTF is supported by a 1% sales tax in Park County and is dedicated to defending, protecting and restoring Park County’s remaining water resources.
Over the past 20 years, these funds have been leveraged 2:1 to protect over 7,000 acres of wetlands, restore 40 miles of streams, create public access to streams and lakes, and defend water rights in court.
The LWTF is up for renewal on this year’s ballot, so when you vote in Park County, please remember the importance of this program. To learn more, please visit www.friendsofparkcountylandandwater.org.
Wild Connections' 2018 South Park Alpine Restoration Project at North Tarryall Creek. Photo Wild Connections.
Wild Connections' 2018 South Park Alpine Restoration Project at Beaver Creek. Photo Wild Connections.
And check out Friends of Park County Land and Water's new short video, which provides additional information and education:
The Colorado Wilderness Act began as the Citizen’s Wilderness Plan, developed by a group of concerned citizens and organizations, including Wild Connections, who inventoried federal lands throughout the state to identify pristine lands that met the criteria for Wilderness designation.
The proposal was modified after discussion and was presented to Congresswoman Diana DeGette. She agreed those lands required protection and introduced a bill to designate the areas as Wilderness, which is the strongest level of land protection in the country. The need for this protection has only grown as more people have moved or traveled to Colorado to enjoy the natural splendor here.
Congresswoman DeGette has introduced the Colorado Wilderness Act in every Congress since 1999. The new bill reflects the efforts of grassroots activists to update the inventory of Colorado’s lands with wilderness characteristics. It aims to protect lower-lying BLM lands that have historically been less of a focus than the higher, alpine-zone areas for which Colorado is more well-known.
The 2018 Colorado Wilderness Act designates 31 areas in Colorado as Wilderness and two areas as Potential Wilderness, totaling more than 740,000 acres! Many of the proposed areas are mid-elevation ecosystems that are underrepresented in currently designated Colorado Wilderness, and they provide valuable habitat for a staggering variety of plants and wildlife. These areas include stunning red cliffs, winding river-ways, and steep, rocky ridges.
The proposed wilderness areas in our region include Browns Canyon in the Upper Arkansas River Valley, Badger Creek, Table Mountain, McIntyre Hills, and Grape Creek in the Arkansas River Canyonlands, and Beaver Creek, located between Canon City and Colorado Springs.