Wilderness campaign is looking for volunteers for mapping help | PostIndependent.com

Wilderness campaign is looking for volunteers for mapping help

CARBONDALE, Colorado – The Hidden Gems Wilderness Campaign is launching a volunteer program to help finalize mapping and check areas proposed for protection in preparation for legislative action in Congress.

The group is advocating for several new wilderness areas in and around the White River National Forest, as well as significant expansions of popular existing wilderness areas such as the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness.

“We’ve got a relatively short field season in which to check our proposal areas and make sure we haven’t missed anything important in our mapping,” says the campaign’s Roaring Fork Valley organizer, Lisa Moreno of the Carbondale-based Wilderness Workshop.

Volunteers must attend an initial training on field-checking protocols and equipment. The first training is set for next Saturday, June 13, in the Grizzly Creek area east of Glenwood.

“We’re inviting the backcountry-loving public to be part of the on-the-ground work of this campaign. It’s a way to hike with a purpose,” Moreno said.

The Hidden Gems Hike Series returns this summer as well, with a full schedule of outings into proposed wilderness areas. The hike series is also part the Hidden Gems Wilderness Campaign.

The free hikes kick off this Saturday with a bird-watching trip into the Thompson Creek area, southwest of Carbondale, and continue most weekends throughout the summer.

For more information and to register for the Hidden Gems Inventory Corps, go to http://www.whiteriverwild.org or call Osterman at 963-3977.

Hidden Gems summer hikes

Hidden Gems wilderness campaign volunteers will again lead hikes to various locales in the Colorado backcountry to give the public a chance to explore areas that have been proposed for wilderness designation.

Hikes are planned from Summit County to far western Colorado. Go to http://www.whiteriverwild.org and click on hikes/events to see the full calendar of hikes and locales, and to register to take part in the hikes.

In the Aspen and Roaring Fork Valley area, a number of hikes are planned. As outlined by the campaign website, they are:

Saturday, June 13, Perham Creek – A moderate, short but steady ascent up to Assignation Ridge with stunning views of Mount Sopris.

Saturday, June 20, Crystal River/Gallo Hill – A somewhat strenuous ascent out of the Crystal Valley into the existing Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, passing through these two proposed wilderness additions en route.

Saturday, June 27, Woods Lake – This relatively easy ramble in the upper Fryingpan Valley starts at Woods Lake (the actual lake) and traverses the proposed wilderness addition of the same name to Eagle Lake, just inside the Holy Cross Wilderness.

Friday-Saturday, June 26-27, Red Table – A long ascent up the Ruedi Overlook Trail to a flat campsite and 360-degree views from the top of this long, little-visited ridge that’s one of the flagships of the Hidden Gems proposal.

Sunday, July 5, Thompson Creek headwaters – An exploration of the remote yet surprisingly gentle terrain of the Thompson Creek headwaters, southwest of Carbondale; this loop entails some bushwhacking and makes for a fairly long day.

Tuesday, July 7, Hay Park – A repeat performance of last year’s popular full-moon hike up the Thomas Lakes Trail, at the northern base of Mount Sopris.

Sunday, July 12, Basalt Mountain – A hike up Seven Castles Creek in the Fryingpan Valley.

Wednesday, July 15, Thompson Creek headwaters – See July 5.

Sunday, July 19, Huntsman Ridge – A fairly steep ascent ending with panoramic views. Be prepared to bushwhack down to loop back to the trailhead.

Saturday, July 25, Hunter Creek – A fairly easy ramble past the popular lunch-ride loop of lower Hunter Creek into the less-frequented terrain that is proposed to be added to the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness.

Sunday, Aug. 2, Red Table – A steady ascent on the Ruedi Overlook Trail leading to a forested shoulder of Red Table with views of the reservoir.

Saturday, Aug. 8, Treasure Mountain – A challenging ascent of a rugged, hard-to-access thirteener that’s proposed to be added to the existing Raggeds Wilderness, near Marble.

Saturday, Aug. 22, Ruby Lakes – The drive in is brutal, but the hike to Petroleum Lake and the string of lakes above it is fairly easy, and the rugged alpine scenery – almost all of it above treeline – is phenomenal. (High-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicles needed; if you have one, let trip leader know.)

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