High Country Conservation Advocates was founded in 1977-as High Country Citizens' Alliance-to protect Gunnison County, Colorado from a proposed molybdenum mine on Mt. Emmons. Known locally as "Red Lady," Mt. Emmons rises directly above the Town of Crested Butte's historic district. Since then, HCCA has successfully led the community in keeping Mt. Emmons mine-free and is now working with the local partners such as the Town of Crested Butte, Gunnison County, the current owner of the mine properties, and state and federal agencies to take advantage of an opportunity to secure permanent protection for Mt. Emmons.
Realizing that environmental threats go well beyond mining, HCCA developed public lands and water programs to protect these precious resources, upon which our local economy depends. As an outgrowth of this work, we have become Gunnison County's environmental leader, protecting public lands, water, and wildlife in an area that covers more than 3,500 square miles-Gunnison County alone is comprised of over 80% public land and the Gunnison River is the 5th largest tributary to the Colorado River.