Tag Archive for: Homesteak Peak

Holy Cross wilderness expands with new transfer in Colorado

June 14, 2024-

The Wilderness Land Trust recently transferred our 22nd property in Colorado’s Holy Cross Wilderness to public ownership.

Just down the ridgeline from Homestake Peak, the 10-acre Northern Lode property straddles the Continental Divide in an area once active with mines. It sits just above the the West Tennessee Lakes basin and is a short scramble from the popular trail accessing the lakes.

Throughout the property a series of scree slopes and grassy alpine meadows are home to high alpine inhabitants like the American pika. The potato-sized pika is found in the high country throughout the rockies, typically above 8,000 ft. You may have heard their loud squeaking “EEEP” calls or seen them dashing through the talus with mouth full of grasses. In order to make it through the harsh alpine winter without hibernating, the pika will spend all summer stockpiling grass under rocks to dry, creating ‘haypiles’. It’s not uncommon for a single pika to make 25 foraging trips an hour between the talus and meadows through the summer!

The same adaptations that make pika well suited for life in high alpine also make them vulnerable to the climate change. Scientists (including many citizen science programs like the the Colorado Pika Project who rely on volunteers to collect data) are studying how the range of pika habitat is changing, in order to better understand the impacts of climate change. Protecting available habitat, like the Northern Lode property, is important to ensuring these resilient, and adorable, critters continue to thrive.

With five more properties currently held by the Trust awaiting transfer in the Holy Cross Wilderness, our impact there will only continue to grow.



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