East to Longs Peak, west to the Flattops, north
and south to the Medicine Bows and Holy Cross.
To the high tundra views, add red-ripe raspberries,
active beaver lodges, calving elk, pearly everlastings,
giant aspen, lush meadows, and soaring
golden eagles, and you know why we love
Jim and Billie DeRuiter, Estes Park
Troublesome forms the most critical link in the system of connected wilderness landscapes across northern Colorado. By providing an intact forested bridge between Rocky Mountain National Park and the wilderness areas of the Park Range, including Mount Zirkel and Sarvis Creek, it preserves the ability of far-ranging species to migrate and disperse.
The Troublesome area contains the few relatively undisturbed valleys of the Colorado's Middle Park region, including one of the lowest elevation portions of the Continental Divide in Colorado. It harbors dense stands of lodgepole pine and Englemann spruce, aspen groves, grassy meadows, ample water, and otherwise undisturbed conditions that provide excellent habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. Mule deer, elk, bobcat, bear, golden eagles, and prairie falcons are among the most notable inhabitants. Bald eagles summer in the area, and peregrine falcons have been sighted here also. Middle and North Parks' largest deer and elk herds calve, summer, and winter in the proposed wilderness. There is potential for moose to move into the area from the recent North Park transplants. The Colorado Division of Wildlife believes that the area must remain in its undeveloped state to maintain the existing elk populations in Middle Park.
Over 50 miles of trails provide for a variety of dispersed
recreational activity, including hiking, horseback
riding, backpacking, ski touring, fishing, hunting,
and nature study. Hunting is the primary recreational
activity at this time. Wilderness designation
would protect the base of recreational use for the
nearby towns of Walden, Kremmling, and Hot Sulphur
Springs. These Middle and North Park towns
increasingly rely on tourists and recreation for their
Troublesome also contains the headwaters of numerous
creeks, the two largest being Rabbit Ears and
Troublesome. The healthy riparian ecosystems and
extensive wetlands associated with these streams
provide clean and pure water for Middle and North
Though the area is presently roadless, the Forest Service has often attempted to open the area for timber cutting. Citizens have opposed road construction and logging. Cutting would heavily impact the wildlife populations and subsequently downgrade opportunities for hunting in the area. Timber cuts would mar the pristine character of the area, making it less attractive to visitors. Increased erosion, sedimentation, and pollution of the watershed would inevitably result. The economic value of the timber would not exceed the costs of road construction. Many citizens believe the wilderness resource values far surpass the value of the timber resource in the area.
Local residents have opposed timber sales because development may require access across private land and the residents fear the activity would disrupt the excellent hunting now found in the area, a major economic benefit for the residents. Accordingly, there is general support for wilderness designation for the area.
Because of public opposition, previously scheduled
timber cuts and road construction have been delayed
by the Routt National Forest.
Grazing, along with several accompanying range improvements, presently occurs in the area in moderation. This activity would not be affected by wilderness designation.
Troublesome is not considered to contain reserves of any critical minerals. The area is rated as having little potential for oil or natural gas reserves and there are no oil and gas leases within the BLM Wilderness Study Area. Also, exploration holes drilled in the vicinity of the area have proven dry.
BLM's WSA is closed to motorized recreation. The
Forest Service's Troublesome Roadless Area is also
managed for non-motorized, primitive recreation.
Troublesome is a headwaters area that drains lands straddling the Continental Divide. Matheson Reservoir is located within the area on Troublesome Creek and consists of privately owned water rights.
Citizens propose one wilderness comprised of the BLM's Troublesome Wilderness Study Area, plus additional BLM land of about 3,600 acres on the west and a most of the Forest Service's 107,500-acre Troublesome (Arapaho Creek) RARE II Roadless Area. The forest roadless area boundaries generally follow the Continental Divide, creek drainages, or roads. Two major roads leading to private property are cherrystemmed. The BLM area includes most of the BLM land abutting the forest boundary.
Taken together, the area encompasses a substantial portion of the virgin watersheds straddling the Continental Divide between Middle and North Parks. Local sentiment for wilderness has swung substantially in favor of wilderness in recent years as residents have seen what drastic changes would be brought to the area by the Forest Service's and BLM's intended management that emphasizes logging.