In 2015, Congressman Jared Polis introduced the Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act (H.R. 2554) to protect roughly 58,500 acres of lands in Summit County and eastern Eagle County. The proposal would create new Wilderness areas in the Williams Fork Mountains, Tenmile Range, and Hoosier Ridge, and would expand the existing Holy Cross, Eagles Nest, and Ptarmigan Peak Wilderness Areas.
The proposal also enhances outdoor recreation opportunities such as fishing, backcountry skiing, mountain biking, hiking, snowshoeing, and hunting. It would create a Special Management Area within the Tenmile Range to protect world class mountain biking, hiking, and wildlife watching.
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Read the Bill: H.R. 2554
Explore the areas:
|No Name – Map – This is an excellent place for solitude in a pristine alpine setting with outstanding views of the Sawatch Range along Homestake Ridge. If protected, the No Name proposed addition would become part of the larger Holy Cross Wilderness.|
|Freeman Creek – Map – This area features a well-preserved lower- elevation shrub community alongside large wet meadows where moose can often be found. It’s also an important summer range for elk and mule deer in addition to providing habitat for Colorado River cutthroat trout, snowshoe hare, Canadian lynx, and a variety of other species. If protected, the Freeman Creek proposed addition would become part of the larger Eagles Nest Wilderness.|
|Spraddle Creek – Map -Covering half of Bald Mountain, this area serves as a buffer between Vail and the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area.If protected, the Spraddle Creek proposed addition would become part of the larger Eagles Nest Wilderness.|
|Acorn Creek and Ute Pass – Map – Located along the western flanks of the Williams Fork Mountains and adjacent to the northern portion of the Ptarmigan Peak Wilderness Area the area provides important mid-elevation wildlife habitat and is popular among hunters. The area also provides wolverine habitat and has been identified by Colorado Division of Wildlife as having high priority habitat.|
|Hoosier Ridge – Map – Straddling the Continental Divide this area is a prime example of a native alpine ecosystem providing a roadless link between the White River and Pike-San Isabel National Forests. This diverse area provides habitat for ten rare plant species, boreal toad, Canadian lynx, and the elusive wolverine.|
|Porcupine Gulch – Map – Located on the west side of the Continental Divide between Loveland Pass and Eisenhower Tunnel this area serves as the area’s southernmost land bridge across Interstate 70. With limited access, no maintained trails and little recreational visitation, the proposed Porcupine Gulch Special Management Area is among the most undisturbed lands in the area.|
|Tenmile Range – Map – This high, narrow, peak-studded divide separates Tenmile Creek from the Blue River. In close proximity to Copper Mountain, Breckenridge, and Frisco makes this a very popular destination for mountain bikers, hikers, backcountry skiers, and other recreationists. If protected, the area will contain two Recreation Management Areas and a new stand alone Wilderness area.|
|Williams Fork – Map – Located on the western flanks of the Williams Fork Mountains above the Blue River, the area borders the Colorado Natural Heritage Program’s Horse Creek Potential Conservation Area, and has a high degree of biodiversity. The area’s ridge crest contains alpine tundra and even some bristlecone pines – considered the oldest living species on the planet. It was designated by the Forest Service as critical big game winter range, as it – supports a large elk herd and sizable mule deer herd. Greater sage-grouse also use this area as winter range with potential habitat for sage-grouse lek. After becoming law the area will be a new stand alone Wilderness.|