Wild Connections

Our public lands, water and wildlife are under attack! Volunteers close illegal motorized routes and improve habitat so wildlife can thrive. Citizens participate in decision-making leading to change on BLM and Forest lands. Backcountry hikes and restoration workdays provide first-hand experiences.

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Arkansas Canyons and Wilderness Advocacy

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Environment 

Beneficiaries

Description

Defending designated and proposed Wilderness, organizing citizen support for defense and legislation.

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Evidence of Program's Success

Wild Connections was among the many proponents in the Browns Canyon National Monument designation in 2015. The Monument lands were field inventoried by WC beginning in 1995.
WC completed an inventory of BLM Lands With Wilderness Characteristics. Our data prompted the BLM to increase their LWC from 77,000 acres to 191,000 acres.
We participate in the statewide efforts to pass the Protecting America's Wilderness legislation (PAW+), which includes the Colorado Wilderness Act (CWA) and Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act (CORE).

Wildcat Canyon and Wildlands Conservation

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Environment 

Beneficiaries

General population

Description

Includes, but not limited to
Roadless Area Inventories
Wilderness Advocacy
Habitat Restoration Projects
Wild Connections Conservation Plan revision
Climate Change Initiative

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Evidence of Program's Success

Volunteers, interns and staff mappers found 246,000 acres roadless acres on BLM lands, leading BLM to increase their official inventory of Lands with Wilderness Characteristics from 77,000 acres to 183,000 acres.
Habitat restoration projects in Trout Creek, Green Mountain, Geneva Basin, Farnum Peak, N Tarryall Creek, Beaver Creek wetlands, and Sheep Mountain have closed and reclaimed miles of illegal or decommissioned motorized routes and reconnected thousands of acres of wild areas for secure wildlife habitat.
As a result of years of advocacy by conservation organizations, including Wild Connections, Browns Canyon was designated a National Monument protecting more than 21,000 acres of rugged cliffs, montane forest and public access to a premier white water rafting stretch of the Arkansas River.
The Colorado Wilderness Act passed in the House and is awaiting Senate approval. It will protect 660,000 acres across Colorado including several areas along the Arkansas River.

Climate Change

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Environment 

Beneficiaries

Description

Creating proposed climate refugia using several GIS models. High priority refugia are part of the regional connectivity mapping and may be proposed for future on the ground action and/or protection.

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Evidence of Program's Success

Preliminary models are ready for submission to peer reviewers in 2021

Roadless Area Defense

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Environment 

Beneficiaries

General population

Description

The Pike-San Isabel National Forest and the Royal Gorge Bureau of Land Management are stewards of more than 2,780,000 acres in the upper reaches of the Arkansas and South Platte basins. For 25 years Wild Connections has participated in land management planning conducted by these agencies. Most recently we have had extensive input into BLM's Eastern Colorado Resource Manage Plan by organizing citizens to comment on the draft plans, creating our own technical comments, hosting monthly field trips to BLM areas of concern and leading a coalition of conservation organizations who are working to ensure a conservation - oriented final plan.
We will be involved in the The Pike-San Isabel Travel Management Planning in 2021 and advocating for a right-sized travel system that protects roadless areas and sensitive wildlife habit from the impacts of motorized use.
In addition, we regularly comment on specific agency on-the-ground project that may negatively affect areas of concern.

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Evidence of Program's Success

The Wild Connections Conservation Plan, a science-based scenario for future management of the Pike-San Isabel National forest and adjacent BLM lands has been circulated widely to agencies and organizations, and i being updated to include climate change issues.
BLM Lands With Wilderness Characteristics inventories influenced the addition of more than 100,000 acres to the agency's official inventory.
Created talking points and numerous opportunities for the public to comment on the BLM Eastern Colorado Resource Plan.
Co-chaired the coalition of conservation groups which has worked for two years to mobilize public advocacy for a conservation oriented BLM land management plan

Biodiversity Protection

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Environment 

Beneficiaries

General population

Description

Leading guided back country hikes
Organizing citizens for comment on current issues such as mining, land management and travel planning, etc.
Protecting native animals and plants,
Establishing protected connections between wild areas
Promoting the wildlands network for our region and the Southern Rockies

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Evidence of Program's Success

Protecting the native biodiversity of our region is threaded throughout all of Wild Connections' work.
An important aspect is to identify and protect habitat corridors across public lands that help animals move between roadless core areas for breeding and summer and winter migrations and respond to climate changes. Our climate change initiative and habitat restoration projects, as well as working with land management agencies on threatened and endangered species are practical efforts.
In addition, our configuration of roadless cores, designated Wilderness and wildlife corridors are part of the Southern Rockies Wildlands Network and Spine of Continent Wildway.

Education and Outreach

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Environment 

Beneficiaries

General population

Description

Wild Connections works diligently to involve the general public in actively protecting their public lands.We host guided field trips to wild areas, involve volunteers in habitat restoration projects, present slide shows, table at festivals and maintain regular electronicand print contacts with our constituents.




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Evidence of Program's Success

Guided field trips or virtual webinars have taken several hundred people to back country roadless areas, and in 2021 we will resume small, socially distanced trips to a limited number of areas..
During the pandemic, our regular tabling at local festivals was put on hold. AT restrictions ease in 2021, we may be able to resume some of this outreach.
Several webinars have been presented on First Ascents of Pikes Peak, Wilderness Act anniversary, and Climate modeling.
Wild News is sent monthly by email to more than 800 people
Landscapes newsletter is published for print and email distribution 2-3 times a year.
FaceBook, Twitter and Instagram are used regularly to inform people of events and issues
Our cloud-based constituent relations management system has greatly increased our capacity to reach our friends and nurture those who donate.

Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.