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, promoting wildlands protection, 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 (PSI) and Royal Gorge Bureau of Land Management (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 agency's resource planning process. We have involved the public in the Forest Service's travel management planning.
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, Badger Flats, Rock Creek, LaSalle Pass, and the S Park Alpine Project (N Tarryall Creek, Beaver Creek and Sheep Creek). In 2023 we will work with the Forest Service to launch a multi-year route closures and habitat restoration project 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 2023, 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.