Beaver Creek Wilderness Study Area (Colorado).
Some of Colorado’s top spots for wilderness recreation are at stake as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) develops new management plans for the state’s public lands.
Spectacular landscapes like the Arkansas River canyon lands, the Mosquito Range lowlands and South Park’s mountain meadows are all at stake, as well as other areas in central and eastern Colorado.
The wild lands in this area are critical to the health of the region. River systems in this area flow all the way to the Mississippi River, and support wildlife like bighorn sheep and spotted owls.
Incredible recreation opportunities draw thousands of visitors a year to destinations like Salida and Buena Vista for activities like river rafting, hiking and biking. By protecting our wild public lands, Colorado is also protecting its reputation for top-notch recreation in beautiful and untouched natural places.
Surprisingly, of the 680,000 acres of land in the plan, the BLM has identified only 78,000 acres with wilderness characteristics. These are the high-quality natural landscapes where we escape in Colorado’s backcountry. By dismissing the importance of these natural and outstanding places, BLM could leave our favorite places and recreation spots open to mining, oil and gas development and off-road vehicles. Instead, BLM should acknowledge our wild lands and protect them for generations to come.
Unless Coloradans speak up for these special places, the rest of these lands could open up to mining and oil and gas exploration.