The Wilderness Workshop is the conservation watchdog of nearly 4 million acres of public lands in western Colorado.
Using science, the law and grassroots activism, WW works to keep the White River National Forest and nearby BLM lands more or less “as is” and, where possible, to restore wildness to this nationally important landscape.
Founded in 1967, the Wilderness Workshop has earned a national reputation for passionate advocacy, grassroots effectiveness, and scientific authority.
WW is the only nonprofit organization that’s devoted to protecting these particular public lands on a full-time basis. No other local group has the Mission, coupled with capacity, expertise, and standing to participate effectively and consistently in the arcane bureaucratic processes that decide the fate of these lands; no state or national organization can devote as much time to our particular area.
We don’t represent any user group; rather, we provide a voice for nature on our public lands. We’re a community of people who enjoy and cherish wild places, and believe that wildlands and wildlife should be protected for their own sake (and for ours).
Although focused on the White River National Forest region, our work is part of a visionary movement to reconnect wildlife habitats and “rewild” landscapes on a continental scale. Thus we frequently partner with other local, state, regional and national groups on projects.
Our mission is to protect and conserve the wilderness and natural landscapes of the Roaring Fork Watershed, the White River National Forest, and adjacent public lands.
The Aspen Wilderness Workshop (as it was then called) was founded in 1967 with two goals: securing congressional designation for the Hunter-Fryingpan and Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Areas, and doubling the acreage designated within the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area.
These goals were accomplished with the passage of the 1978 Endangered American Wilderness Act and the 1980 Colorado Wilderness Act. AWW, and in particular co-founders and “Maroon Belles” Connie Harvey, Joy Caudill and Dottie Fox, played a pivotal role in bringing about these pieces of legislation, which together secured nearly a half-million acres of wilderness in the White River National Forest.
Since the mid-1980s, our focus has broadened from advocating for new wilderness to defending the ecological integrity of the entire greater WRNF area. To acknowledge this evolution, in 2003 we dropped the word “Aspen” from our name, and in 2004 moved our main office to Carbondale.
In four decades, the Wilderness Workshop has earned a national reputation for passionate advocacy, grassroots effectiveness and scientific authority.
The Maroon Belles: Joy Caudill, Dottie Fox and Connie Harvey.
Photo courtesy Meredith Ogilby.
WW TURNED 50!
Wilderness Workshop has been fighting to designate and protect public lands since 1967. 2017 marked our 50th anniversary, and we are so grateful for the continued support of this community. Wilderness Workshop started with three thoughtful, passionate women— “Maroon Belles” Connie Harvey, Dottie Fox, and Joy Caudill— using grassroots momentum to secure congressional designation for the Hunter-Fryingpan, Collegiate Peaks, Raggeds and West Elks Wilderness Areas, and doubling the acreage designated within the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area.
After that goal was successfully met with passage of the 1978 Endangered American Wilderness Act and the 1980 Colorado Wilderness Act, the organization evolved to continue to advocate for wilderness, public lands protection, and wildlife habitat. Through our many years and evolution, Wilderness Workshop has remained true to its grassroots origin, and strives to promote community involvement as a front line tool. Here’s to another 50 years!