We protect and restore wild nature on public lands in the Arkansas and South Platte river watersheds, from I-70 south to the Spanish Peaks. By connecting protected wildlands across the Central Rockies, our work improves landscape resilience as the climate changes and benefits wildlife and human communities.
Our public lands, wildlife, forests, and meadows are treasures owned by all Americans. Conserving habitat for native plants and animals, fostering clean streams and rivers, and restoring and enjoying backcountry recreation areas in central Colorado are the goals of Wild Connections.
In 1995 volunteers set out to map 100 roadless areas on the Pike-San Isabel National Forest and Royal Gorge BLM lands in central Colorado. Over the years mapping teams have documented hundreds of thousands of acres of roadless lands, and as a result the Forest Service added 103,600 acres to its Colorado Roadless inventory and the BLM increased their Lands with Wilderness Characteristics inventory from 78,000 acres to 183,000 acres. Since 2018, Wild Connections has coordinated a campaign to involve the public in protecting BLM lands by participating in the resource planning process.
Our habitat restoration program is a practical demonstration of collaboration among organizations, volunteers, and the Forest Service to reclaim degraded wildlife areas. Projects are located in Trout Creek, Green Mountain, Geneva Basin, Farnum Peak, Selkirk Gulch, Packer Gulch, Rock Creek, and the S Park Alpine Project (N Tarryall Creek, Beaver Creek and Sheep Creek). In 2021 work will launch multi-year route closures and habitat restoration in Wildcat Canyon.
Guided hikes, both virtual and on-the-ground, bring citizens into some of the wildest areas for a first hand experience of solitude, wilderness values and wildlife encounters. The hikes include information about how people can take action to help protect these precious areas.
Our vision for the future is a wildlands network of protected core areas that are connected by high quality wildlife habitat. This vision is embodied in the Wild Connections Conservation Plan, a science-based conservation scenario created by citizens using information from roadless area inventories, biological data and input from regional workshops. In 2021, our conservation plan will be updated to identify areas that can provide refuge for wildlife and protect biodiversity during an era of changing climatic conditions.
"We spent the day filling and digging holes, collecting rocks, putting in metal poles, and mixing and pouring concrete. I enjoyed the work I was doing and the nature that was surrounding me. I loved that I could look for miles in every direction and see nothing except for trees and nature. I was truly reminded of how important it is to take care of the world we live in; otherwise it will not be as beautiful as it once was."
- Katie H., restoration project volunteer