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More Protection for Wild Sky Wilderness

Beautiful Silver Lake is a popular hiking destination in Washington

February 12, 2021 – Exploring the Wild Sky Wilderness in Washington state is like stepping back in time before early settlers began to dramatically alter the landscape. Thickly forested slopes and valleys lie in the shadow of high jagged peaks, protecting nearly all of the flora and fauna that existed hundreds of years ago. Old-growth trees and endangered wildlife species thrive as a result of its remote location, mind-boggling amount of annual precipitation and permanent protection via wilderness designation.

Unfortunately, the landscape is also riddled with mining claims from a time when resource extraction helped to fuel the growth of nearby Seattle and its surrounding area. Development of these claims threaten the very characteristics for which the designation was established.

In response, The Wilderness Land Trust has worked diligently for more than two decades to acquire these claims. Thanks to your generous support, we have purchased nearly 1,500 acres in designated wilderness areas throughout Washington, including the Wild Sky, Henry M. Jackson, Buckhorn, Glacier Peak, Mount Baker and Juniper Dunes Wilderness areas.

Adding to this total is another 31-acre parcel we recently purchased in the heart of the Wild Sky Wilderness, thereby removing the threat of mining or private development on this property forever. Additional protection is on the way this year, and I look forward to sharing more good news as several new projects develop.

Learn how you can help us protect this special northwest landscape and others throughout the western United States.

A Cherished Team Member Departs

Lisa Janeway on a recent site visit in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, Colorado

Lisa Janeway on a recent site visit in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, Colorado

January 29, 2020 – In 2013, Lisa Janeway joined The Wilderness Land Trust as administrative director, helping to manage the day-to-day needs of the organization. Her unbeatable combination of smarts, tireless work ethic and attention to detail resulted in her promotion to director of operations in 2019, occupying an important role within our lands program to help ensure each successful project.

Always up for an outdoor adventure, some of Lisa’s favorite project site visit memories include navigating a treacherous two-track in a 2WD truck on ranch property before it was added to the Sabinoso Wilderness, scrambling on foot across alpine tundra high in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness looking for boundary markers, and running for cover during an afternoon lightning storm high atop a plateau in the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico.

Lisa recently shared what she appreciated most about her time at the Trust: “I am beyond grateful for the opportunities The Wilderness Land Trust has provided me in the last eight years. Every member of the staff and board is deeply committed to wilderness and that personal connection is felt in every decision made. The Trust is continually marching forward, even during challenging times. Thank you to all of the partners and donors that make this work possible!”

Good things come to good people, and while we’re sad to announce that Lisa is leaving the Trust, all of us are thrilled about a well-earned opportunity to pursue the next step in her conservation career. Well done!

Thank you Lisa, for eight years of outstanding dedication to The Wilderness Land Trust. We look forward to seeing you shine in your new role as stewardship director of the Mountain Area Land Trust in Colorado, and hopefully partnering on a future project together.

Protecting Natural Processes in Colorado’s Wilderness

December 7, 2020 – Wildfires are a natural occurrence within Colorado’s forest ecosystem, paving the way for removal of dead trees and plant debris, regenerating the soil, and creating a mosaic of young and old trees that support a diversity of wildlife species. But the development of private land within designated wilderness disrupts this natural process and puts homes and lives, including firefighters, in danger as agencies direct considerable resources to suppress them.

Colorado’s Mount Massive Wilderness

As you contemplate many worthy causes to support on Colorado Gives Day this Tuesday, consider our work in the Collegiate Peaks and Mount Massive Wilderness areas. In the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, we recently purchased 19-acres of land on spectacular Independence Pass and removed the last remaining threat of private development from this section of the wilderness. In the Mount Massive Wilderness, where Coloradans find peace in dropping a line, soaking in the sun and admiring native wildflowers, we are in the process of transferring a final inholding to the U.S. Forest Service, making this beautiful wilderness whole.

Since The Wilderness Land Trust’s first land acquisition in Colorado in 1992, we have purchased 126 private parcels of land totaling 5,868 acres to prevent development in Colorado’s designated wilderness areas and reduce the dangers inherent to wildfire season.

Thank you for your unwavering support in our work. Please join us for Colorado Gives Day on Dec. 8 or schedule your donation in advance. We couldn’t do it without partners like you.

The Trust Removes Development Threat from Independence Pass

September 2, 2020 – The Wilderness Land Trust has purchased a 19-acre inholding east of Aspen just off of Highway 82 in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. In the last three years, the organization has purchased two other inholdings totaling an additional 19 acres and with this most recent purchase, the Trust has removed the last remaining threat of private development in this area of the Collegiate Peaks.

This 19-acre parcel is visible from the road and along a popular hiking trail. Without protection, it was vulnerable to residential development, which would have disrupted plant and animal habitat and threatened access to the trail. With a generous matching grant from a local resident and contributions from the AABC, Alpenglow, BF, Independence Pass, Iselin and Oak Foundations, as well as numerous individuals in the Aspen area, the Trust raised the funds needed to acquire this critical property.

Purchasing this land is the first of a two step process. The Trust will now work with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to clean up the property before transferring it to public ownership. This work includes removing a metal roof, wood burning stove and other debris from in and around a cabin. Because the cabin is of historical significance, the log walls will remain. Once cleanup of the property is complete, the Trust plans to transfer the property to the USFS to be incorporated into the surrounding wilderness area.

“Our mission is to keep the promise of wilderness by acquiring and transferring private lands to public ownership that complete designated and proposed wilderness areas,” says Brad Borst, president, The Wilderness Land Trust. “The Collegiate Peaks Wilderness near Independence Pass is a special region known for its magnificent alpine landscapes. We are grateful for the generous support from local organizations and residents who jumped in to help us protect this piece of Colorado paradise.”

The Wilderness Land Trust is partnering with The Independence Pass Foundation to raise the funds needed to complete the transfer of this project. Individuals or organizations interested in helping can contact Kelly Conde at kelly@wildernesslandtrust.org or 206-842-1214.

A Jaw-Dropping Experience on Independence Pass

May 15, 2020 – Snow-capped mountains, high alpine meadows and hairpin turns are just a few experiences to enjoy on Independence Pass, located at 12,000 feet above

“I’m most at home in the upper reaches of Colorado’s high alpine country, where life barely hangs on beneath the shelter of the surrounding peaks.” – Colorado native Spencer Shaw on top of Independence Pass

sea level near Aspen, Colorado. This breathtaking region is adjacent three wilderness areas, including the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, an area we’ve been working hard to protect for more than a decade.

This past year we transferred the nine-acre Grandview Lode to the U.S. Forest Service for inclusion in the surrounding wilderness, to be followed by the adjacent 10-acre Spotted Tail Lode. This area of the wilderness is a popular hiking spot and if you journey high enough, you’ll find access to climbing and jaw-dropping views of the Continental Divide.

We are also working to transfer a 20-acre property we acquired near Blue Lake within the Mount Massive Wilderness. This lake is just a three-mile hike from the pass, and as our young friend Spencer (pictured above) points out, it’s a perfect place to drop a line, soak in some sunshine and admire the wildflowers.

Since 1992, you have helped the Trust acquire nearly 5,900 acres in Colorado and transfer more than 5,700 to public ownership, and we look forward to sharing the details of several new projects currently under development.

 

Reid Haughey, Senior Lands Specialist, looks east from the Grandview Lode property

Protecting Collegiate Peaks Wilderness

Sept. 27, 2019 — About a year and a half ago we partnered with the Independence Pass Foundation to purchase the Grandview Lode, a nine-acre parcel in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness in Colorado.

Reid Haughey, Senior Lands Specialist, looks east from the Grandview Lode property

Reid Haughey, Senior Lands Specialist, looks east from the Grandview Lode property

Private ownership of this land would have opened it up to development, road construction and the disruption of vital habitat for threatened and endangered plants.

Today I am happy to share with you that we have transferred this property to the public for permanent protection with the U.S. Forest Service.

The Grandview Lode is connected to the Spotted Tail Lode, a 10-acre property we purchased at the same time. Both parcels are within the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness and located in the view plane of the preserved ghost town of Independence and State Highway 82, a Colorado Scenic Byway.

Bringing you these wilderness wins is one of the highlights of my work at the Trust because you make these successes possible. To help us raise awareness for our work preserving our nation’s wilderness, please consider sharing this news and encourage your friends and family to sign up for our news updates.

Colorado Land Protected for Future Wilderness

May 31, 2019 — The Wilderness Land Trust has just transferred two Colorado properties totaling 80-acres to public ownership within the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest in Colorado. The land is located near the town of Gunnison, within Colorado’s East Elk Creek, a proposed addition to the West Elk Wilderness Area

A creek winds its way through the proposed West Elk Wilderness addition.

The West Elk Wilderness is home to a host of trails that meander across its many mountain passes. If you’re a determined hiker, you can find lush, secluded valleys lined with trembling aspen that turn a brilliant gold in the fall.

In 2017 we purchased West Elk I, a 40-acre parcel, and in 2018 we purchased West Elk II, an adjacent 40-acre property. They are the last remaining private inholdings within the proposed addition. By transferring this land to the U.S. Forest Service, we have removed all private land issues within the proposed wilderness addition, strengthening the probability that East Elk Creek will become part of the West Elk Wilderness.

Please help us get the word out about our work by sharing this news with your friends and family and sharing our work on Facebook!