Aspen, Vail and Summit wilderness areas up for congressional protection
A coalition of conservationists is inviting Summit County residents to hike an area that could soon be designated as wilderness.
Members of Central Mountains (formerly Hidden Gems) and Conservation Colorado will lead a 4-mile guided hike exploring the Acorn Creek area north of Silverthorne on Saturday morning.
Myra Isenhart has lived on property bordering Acorn Creek for 16 years and will be a guide on Saturday’s hike.
“This area is just far enough out of town that not a lot of people get to it. It’s so gorgeous and unspoiled,” she said.
Acorn Creek boasts a variety of vegetation on the Williams Fork Ridge, and supports a diverse wildlife habitat. The elevation ranges from 8,800 feet at Acorn Creek to 12,254 feet at Ute Peak.
Hikers will be pausing from time to time to enjoy a variety of ecological features found at Acorn Creek and to discuss legislation supported by the Conservation Colorado wilderness campaign.
The group’s overarching goal is to win congressional approval for new Colorado wilderness proposals that would protect areas of Summit, Eagle and Pitkin counties, including U.S. Rep. Jared Polis’ Eagle and Summit Counties Wilderness Preservation Act, and U.S. Sen. Mark Udall’s Central Mountains Outdoor Heritage Proposal.
Group members said they’ve organized a massive local organizing and outreach effort, mapping wilderness boundaries and negotiating to ensure that wilderness is preserved while recreation and community needs are being met.
The project is now considerably smaller, but has garnered more support from a variety of stakeholders since it was first introduced several years ago, organizers said.
“The work to get these areas protected has gone on for many years. It’s gone through a huge amount of public review and process,” said Will Roush, a conservation advocate at Wilderness Workshop.
The hike at Acorn Creek is part of a summer hiking series designed for people to see the potential wilderness areas firsthand, ask questions and take action to help move wilderness legislation forward, if they choose to do so.
“It’s an educational tool,” Roush said.
The hike at Acorn Creek will start at 9 a.m. and last about four hours. Organizers describe the hike as moderate difficulty. It is free of charge but will be limited to 15 participants. To register, contact Myra Isenhart at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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