The Wilderness Act of 1964 recognized the need to protect 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.
Wilderness is a place where vehicles are not allowed, where no permanent camps or structures can be made, where wildlife and its habitat are kept in as pristine a condition as possible.
The Wilderness Act recognized the value of undisturbed wild places to people too, as a 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 just over 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 to experience the unspoiled landscapes that define the Rocky Mountains.
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—offering a rich natural heritage to residents and visitors alike.
Since 1975, the Colorado Wilderness Network (CWN) has sought to diversify and expand protection for Colorado's wilderness treasures. We have documented more wilderness quality lands across Colorado, including just over 1.6 million acres in Colorado’s Canyon Country Wilderness Proposal (CCCWP) for Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands, as well as over six million additional acres of proposed wilderness in Colorado’s National Forests.
CWN is a coalition of over 300 local governments, businesses, and recreation, religious, and conservation organizations working to permanently protect new wilderness. Members of CWN connect citizens to the land through hikes into proposed wilderness areas, fight short-sighted oil and gas development projects in proposed wilderness, and seek support from elected officials for new wilderness protections.
The Colorado Wilderness Network is coordinated by Colorado Environmental Coalition, Colorado Mountain Club, Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society, and Western Colorado Congress. For more information about the Colorado Wilderness Network and the stunning places it seeks to protect, please contact any of those organizations:
Colorado Environmental Coalition
(303) 534-7066 – Denver
(970) 243-0002 – Grand Junction
Colorado Mountain Club
(970) 618-1341 – Carbondale
Western Colorado Congress
(970) 256-7650 – Grand Junction
The Wilderness Society
(303) 650-5818 – Denver
(970) 945-8596 – Glenwood Springs