Project Updates

August 12, 2022-

In the last two years, The Wilderness Land Trust has completed fundraising campaigns for several critical property acquisitions. Your generosity funded the purchase of these lands and covered acquisition costs. We are happy to provide you an update on the second phase of those projects, the transfer to public land.

Achenbach | Organ Mountains Wilderness, NM

WLT acquired 109 acres and secured trail access at the mouth of Achenbach Canyon in February 2021, protecting wildlife habitat and scenic views within the 500,000-acre wilderness. The Trust is grateful for our partnership with Friends of Organ Mountains Desert Peaks. We continue to work with the Bureau of Land Management staff to transfer the Achenbach Canyon property for permanent protection, which will take a few years. Thanks for your support of this important acquisition at Achenbach Canyon to protect future public access.

Panama and Principal Lode | Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, CO

When we purchased the 19-acre Panama/Principal Lode property outside of Aspen, Colorado in the fall of 2020, we knew there was work to be done to get the property “wilderness ready” in order to transfer it to the White River National Forest. A historic cabin on the property needed to be emptied of its contents, its roof dismantled, and the mounds of trash surrounding it, removed.

The Trust enlisted the help of The Independence Pass Foundation (IPF) with the cleanup and throughout last summer, volunteers made multiple trips to the property to haul out everything from old bedsprings to a heavy table and chairs to a yoga mat. The culmination of this work happened in late August, 2021 when the Trust, IPF, and the Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers (RFOV) dismantled and carried out a wood-burning stone, the cabin’s plywood floor and metal roof.

We are happy to report that, upon the completion of this cleanup, the property is now ready to be transferred to become part of the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. We are working with the US Forest Service staff to complete this transfer.

Little Chetco | Kalmiopsis Wilderness, OR

The Trust acquired this 60-acre mining claim adjacent the Little Chetco River in 2017, the last remaining private inholding within the 180,000 acre Kalmiopsis Wilderness. This southwest Oregon wilderness contains the headwaters of three national wild and scenic rivers — the Chetco, North Fork Smith, and Illinois — clean, clear waters that provide critical habitat for salmon and steelhead. Our acquisition and impending transfer to the USFS permanently removes the threat of a former active mining operation that directly impacted critical spawning beds and water quality of the Chetco River drainage.

Acquisition of these properties removed the threat of development, but there is an equal amount of hard work in transferring these properties to our agency partners for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System. Your continued support of The Wilderness Land Trust provides the resources for our staff to complete site visits and due diligence in that second phase of work. Please consider making a gift to steward these lands into public ownership!