Durango Telegraph - Wild San Juans: Conservation group forwards wilderness candidates
Wild San Juans: Conservation group forwards wilderness candidates

The west side of the Hermosa Creek Roadless Area is not the only acreage that could be in for wilderness designation. As part of its Wild San Juans project, the San Juan Citizens Alliance is encouraging the San Juan National Forest to consider several potential candidates to become wilderness area. The group argues that the San Juan Mountains are the wildest area in the Southern Rockies, and wilderness designation would prevent roads, logging, oil and gas wells, motorized recreation,

and intensive resorts from damaging the resource.

The group has advocated expanding the Weminuche and South San Juans wilderness areas toward the base of Wolf Creek pass so that they would be nearly contiguous. In addition, the alliance has suggested wilderness protection for Stoner Mesa, Fish Creek, San Miguel and Snaggletooth roadless areas.

Last but not least, San Juan Citizens Alliance would prefer to see the HD Mountains Roadless Area near

Bayfield enter the realm of wilderness designation. “Of course, we keep suggesting that the HD Mountains would be much better managed as wilderness than as an oil and gas field,” said Mark Pearson, executive director of SJCA.

In early April, the Forest Service approved 57 new gas wells and 38 miles of new roads for the HD Roadless Area.

– Will Sands