Two conservation organizations have teamed up to offer informational hikes during which participants can learn more about legislative efforts to expand legally designated wilderness areas in the High Country.
Both hikes lie within the Central Mountains Outdoor Heritage Proposal, a 250,000-acre area in the White River National Forest. Proposal supporters aim to designate more wilderness areas in Eagle, Pitkin and Summit counties.
The long-term, ongoing effort would help keep momentum going for land protections in the area, said Scott Braden, wilderness advocate with Conservation Colorado.
“This process has been driven by a lot of different stakeholders,” he said, including mountain bikers, sportsmen, local governments and water utilities, to ensure community support. He said the proposal would protect existing recreation uses.
Participants on the hikes will see the areas included in the proposal and learn more about the campaign and the legislative process. Those who attend are encouraged to bring plenty of water, lunch or snacks, sunscreen and rain gear.
U.S. Rep. Jared Polis introduced a bill that would designate portions of the proposal in 2011, and Braden said he should reintroduce the bill sometime this summer. Sen. Mark Udall also is leading the effort to designate land adjacent to the Eagles Nest, Ptarmigan Peak and Holy Cross wilderness areas as well as standalone areas with wilderness protections.