Protecting the Wilderness
The Wilderness Act of 1964, passed eight years after its introduction, recognized the need to maintain the pristine beauty unique to America's wild places. Describing a wilderness as "an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain," the Wilderness Act sought to safeguard these offerings of quiet solace, stunning landscapes and invaluable biodiversity. By definition, then, wilderness was a place where vehicles would not be allowed, where no permanent camps or structures could be made, where wildlife and its habitat would be kept in as pristine a condition as possible.
The Wilderness Act recognized the value of undisturbed wild places to balance growing human populations across the country – places where people can escape the hustle-bustle of daily life and reconnect with America's breathtaking natural splendor.
In Colorado, there are more than three million acres of federally designated wilderness, most of it on national forest lands. These high-country gems, which include the Maroon Bells-Snowmass, Weminuche, and Collegiate Peaks wilderness areas, bring thousands of recreationists to Colorado's wild places each year to experience the unspoiled landscapes that define the Rocky Mountains.
In an effort to diversify and expand Colorado's wilderness assets, Colorado Environmental Coalition and our partners in advocating for our state's wild places, have documented more wilderness quality lands across Colorado, including the 1.6 million acre Citizens' Wilderness Proposal for Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands, which would preserve Colorado's Canyon Country treasures, and more than six million acres of roadless national forest lands.
These wild places are what make Colorado so special: pristine rivers flowing through deep canyons, cool ponderosa forests dotted with wildflower meadows and quaking aspen stands, ancient petroglyphs carved on rainbow-hued rocks – the treasures that our public lands hold offer a rich natural heritage to residents and visitors alike.
We need your help to safeguard these special landscapes.