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Get Involved

Find out what you can do to protect the last remaining roadless areas in Colorado.

Learn More

Get background information about the values of roadless areas in Colorado, as well as information about the Colorado Roadless Petition and an explanation of the Roadless Rule.

Roadless Areas In Colorado

Check out maps of the roadless areas in Colorado's National Forests, and read in more detail about these special places.

Who We Are

Contact information for organizations affiliated with Colorado's Forest Legacy .

 

Summary of Public Comments

Thank You For Supporting Protection of Roadless Areas

Roadless Photo

Wildflowers and Italian Mountain near Stewart Mine in the Elk Mountain-Collegiate Roadless Area in the Gunnison National Forest.  
Southern Rockies Ecosystem Project

Colorado is home to seven National Forests—about 14.5 million acres—which among them contain some of the last truly unspoiled lands in the country.

 

Decades of heavy logging and mining, and various bouts of leasing and energy development, have combined to create a web of roads fragmenting our National Forests. As a result of this legacy, only 6% of Colorado’s National Forests are more than two miles from a road. Colorado's roadless areas represent only about 30% of the state’s National Forest lands but are some of the wildest—and least protected—that remain.

 

These lands are a haven for wildlife—home to many imperiled species, including the northern goshawk, Canada lynx, and cutthroat trout. Many of Colorado’s most important rivers have headwaters in roadless watersheds—providing tremendous ecological benefit to millions of downstream Americans.  Colorado's tourism- and recreation-based economies, its residents' quality of life, and a range of outstanding backcountry opportunities rely on the preservation of these lands.

 

Given the importance of roadless areas to the vitality and uniqueness of Colorado, protecting the last remaining acres of these pristine treasures takes on critical urgency.

The Value of Roadless Areas

Colorado’s economy, quality of life, and environmental health all depend on the existence of protected roadless areas. Places like Thompson Creek in the White River National Forest and the HD Mountains of the San Juan National Forest have supported Colorado traditions of backcountry recreation for generations; these special places have safeguarded the purity of watersheds and the functioning of healthy ecosystems for far longer. As these areas are increasingly under threat of being overrun by unnecessary roads, it is important to understand the wealth of diverse values contained in this ever dwindling reserve. Click here for more…

Threats to Roadless Areas

Excessive, poorly-planned, and poorly-maintained roads can have devastating affects on the wide array of resources that Colorado’s roadless areas provide. Roads fragment habitat and bring pollution, noise, and noxious weeds, which together rapidly eat away at the territory left safe for sensitive and big game species alike. Roads also bring erosion and siltification, scarring sensitive landscapes and muddying clear mountain streams. Click here for more…

The Roadless Rule, Colorado Roadless Petition & Obama Administration Proposed Rule

In 2007, Colorado Governor Ritter presented a petition to the Forest Service requesting protection for National Forest roadless areas in the state as an "insurance policy" in case the regulation that had been protecting them is permanently repealed. The petition is based on recommendation made by a Task Force convened by the previous Governor and the state legislature to determine the fate of Colorado's remaining roadless areas after the regulation that had been protecting them was temporarily repealed. In the meantime, nationwide roadless protection was reinstated but this could be overridden by the weakened protections in the Colorado petition. Click here for more…