The purchase of these great hats will help fund programs for the Weminuche Wilderness.
A World-Class Resource
Designated in 1975, the Weminuche Wilderness is Colorado’s largest wilderness area with just under 500,000 acres of conifer forests, wild trout streams, and jagged peaks. As the headwaters of the Rio Grande River, the San Juan River and other tributaries to the Colorado River, the Weminuche provides drinking water to millions of downstream residents on both sides of the Continental Divide.
Unfortunately, the Weminuche Wilderness faces a number of difficult management challenges:
- Growing crowds are leaving human waste, contaminating key watersheds, and causing resource damage;
- Beetle infestations have led to countless fallen trees that affect the ecosystem and prevent trail access. Studies show only 25-50% of beetle kill trees fall in first 8 years and it can take 15-20 years for 90% of the beetle kill trees to fall. In the Pagosa District alone, trail sections that have been cleared annually have as many as +80 trees / mile. Trails that receive little or no attention are showing +170 trees downed / mile with segments of 200-600 trees/mile! An estimated 9000 will fall each year for the foreseeable future. (Pagosa Ranger District 2019-2021 Trails Strategy)
- Growing crowds are leaving human waste, contaminating key watersheds, and causing resource damage
- Avalanches from the winter of 2019 have left debris piles across multiple sections of the Elk Creek Trail, a key segment of the Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango
- Wilderness visitors are often unaware of wilderness ethics and leave no trace practices.
This Fund is Dedicated to the Stewardship of the Weminuche
- Implement on-the-ground stewardship projects;
- Improve trail access
- Educate the public on Leave No Trace ethics
- Support the San Juan Wilderness Stewardship Crew; and
- Coordinate and equip wilderness volunteers.