The Colorado Wilderness Network is a coalition made up of 100 conservation, sporting, business and civic interests dedicated to achieving wilderness protection for roughly 1.4 million acres of BLM lands and adjacent Forest Service lands in Colorado.   Representatives of the Western Colorado Congress, Colorado Mountain Club, Sierra Club, Colorado Environmental Coalition, and The Wilderness Society serve on the Network's Steering Committee.

The lands we seek to protect include important ecosystems which are seriously under-represented in Colorado's current protected areas.  West of the Great Plains, Colorado soars to the Continental Divide and the high 13-14,000 foot peaks, and then drops off to the familiar red rock canyons of the western part of the state.  Across this expanse 20-28% of the total acres of aspen, spruce-fir, Douglas fir, tundra and lodgepole pine are in Wilderness or other areas with special protection.  But only 1.5-8% of the total acres of grasslands, shrublands, pinion-juniper, wetlands, ponderosa pine and Gambol oak are given similar protection.

The 1999 Wilderness Bill will help sustain all of Colorado's native biodiversity and provide many back-country recreation opportunities in magnificent wild areas.  The 1.4 million acre bill affects just two percent of the entire Colorado land base.  It leaves 85 percent of the lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management open to oil and gas drilling, mining, off road vehicle use and other harmful activities.

grapcreeka.JPG (58619 bytes)Grape Creek Canyon

There is a place near every Sierra Club Group which is included in the 1999 bill.   Click here for a map of the areas.  Action Items will be updated regularly so you can participate in the campaign.

If you want to know more about these areas, get Mark Pearson's and John Fielder's "Colorado Canyon Country:  A Guide to Hiking and Floating BLM Wild Lands."  You can order it right now through Sierra Club's link to  Just type Mark Pearson in the search box and you will get a book list and ordering instructions.



"This is an historic moment, marking the beginning of a bold campaign to preserve Colorado's canyon country legacy -- virtually none of which is currently protected," remarked Suzanne Jones, Assistant Regional Director of The Wilderness Society.  "With sprawl and growth threatening to destroy our way of life, it has never been more important to save the last of Colorado's unprotected wild places.  we commend Congresswoman DeGette for her leadership and hope that the rest of Colorado's delegation will support this bill."

"Protected public lands are a major asset to my county -- that's why we endorsed the Citizens' Wilderness Proposal and why we support DeGette's bill," said Art Goodtimes, a San Miguel County Commissioner.  "Wilderness not only provides great recreation opportunities, it also attracts businesses drawn to the high quality of life in our communities.  Protecting these lands preserves the backbone of this region's identity and history,"  Goodtimes added.

"With sprawl and growth threatening to destroy the reasons we all live in this grand state, wilderness offers a way to keep wild places wild.   We commend Congresswoman DeGette for her leadership and are very hopeful that the rest of Colorado's elected representatives will support this bill."  --Susan Tixier, Executive Director of the Colorado Environmental Coalition.

"Wilderness, wildlife and hunting are a natural combination," explained Pete Michaelson, a long-time hunter and former chairman of the Colorado Wildlife Federation.  "Wilderness protects pristine fish and wildlife habitat, and ensures that anyone -- even those unable to pay to hunt on private land -- will have a place for hunting and fishing in the future."

"Protecting public lands protects my bottom line.  My clients want to experience the solitude, beauty and adventure of the great outdoors.   Wilderness designation ensures that these lands will be protected for all to enjoy, as well as for local businesses which depend upon them for their livelihoods."   --Bob Kennamer, outfitter in the San Isabel Forest.


As of mid-February, more than 65 groups have endorsed the Wilderness Proposal.   For information on how to register your endorsement, send an email to Monica Piergrossi,


A stunning color brochure, featuring photos by John Fielder and other conservation activists, is now available.  Send an email to Kathy Kilmer ( to get your copy.  Or contact The Wilderness Society, 7475 Dakin, Denver 80221; 303-650-5818.


Funding to cover the costs of organizing and educating activists and the general public are being pursued through joint grant applications and donations to participating groups.  If you want to personally support the campaign with a donation, please send it to the Sierra Club office, 1410 Grant St., Suite B205, Denver CO   80203, earmarked for the wilderness campaign.


Now is the time to get involved.  There will be many ways you and your group can support Wilderness: sponsoring the Wilderness slide show; writing to the editor; going on hikes in the wilderness areas; doing field work to document wilderness values; phoning, licking stamps and envelopes -- all things that go into an effective campaign.  Contact any of the following to join the troops.


Sierra Club

Mark Pearson, Durango   970-259-6181

Tina Arapkiles, Boulder   303-449-5595

Colorado Environmental Coalition

Jeff Widen, Durango 970-884-1356 

Pete Kolbenschlag, Grand Junction 970-243-0002

Monica Piergrossi, Denver 303-534-7066

Western Colorado Congress

Matt Sura or Tom Perlic, Grand Junction   970-256-7650

Colorado Mountain Club

Heidi Andersen, Golden   303-279-3080 X106

The Wilderness Society

Suzanne Jones, Denver   303-650-5818 X102



Colorado Canyonlands Wilderness Campaign has a brief history of the Conservationists' BLM wilderness proposal and current activities.

Mesa County Wilderness Coalition features several of the spectacular areas, as well as action items for Grand Junction area residents.

The Wilderness Society shows several of the wilderness areas which were recently reviewed for roads and adequate management by BLM.