Since 1967, Wilderness Workshop has been a force to be reckoned with in designating and protecting public lands. The conservation organization was founded by a tenacious trio of women: Connie Harvey, Dottie Fox and Joy Caudill, affectionately nicknamed the “Maroon Belles.” Compelled to protect much of beautiful natural surroundings of the Roaring Fork Valley at a time when the future of this land was at stake, they came together using grassroots efforts to secure congressional designation for what is now the Hunter-Fryingpan, Collegiate Peaks, Raggeds and West Elks Wilderness areas. Also through their efforts, the acreage designated within the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area was doubled.

In 1978, The Endangered American Wilderness Act was passed, followed in 1980 with the Colorado Wilderness Act, enabling the organization to continue its advocacy for wilderness, public lands protection and wildlife habitat. Today, Wilderness Workshop remains true to its roots, striving to promote community involvement as a front line tool.

For its 50th anniversary celebration, Wilderness Workshop presented a pair of special events June 28 with Wild Feast at the Caribou Club, and July 1 with Wild Fest at Owl Farm. While similar in name, each event was unique in identity and served as a memorable gathering for those in attendance and thoughtful tribute to the legacy of Wilderness Workshop.

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