Comprised of high peaks, rolling glacial valleys and steep river canyons that border the Continental Divide, Colorado’s Alpine Triangle is roughly defined on the map as the land between the communities of Silverton, Lake City and Ouray. Seen in person, the Alpine Triangle is better described as 186,000 wild acres that define the essence of the San Juan Mountains.
Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the Alpine Triangle holds the headwaters of three outstanding trout rivers – the Animas, the Lake Fork of the Gunnison and the Uncompahgre – and harbors exceptional big-game habitat for elk, deer and bighorn sheep. With elevations ranging from 7,500 to over 14,000 feet above sea level, it is a backcountry recreation paradise.
Trout Unlimited, through the Sportsmen’s Conservation Project, is spearheading a collaborative effort to engage local sportsmen and all other stakeholders in a community-wide discussion on the future of the Alpine Triangle. How can we protect the unique resources of the Alpine Triangle while maintaining the region’s economic and recreational assets that make it so popular with hunters and anglers, skiers, climbers, off-highway vehicle enthusiasts and hikers? All the specifics of a plan to provide this protection are yet to be determined, but at this point the plan recommends official wilderness designation for 59,500 acres of current Wilderness Study Areas (WSA) in the Triangle, including Handies Peak, Redcloud Peak and American Flats.
For more information on the SCP's efforts to gain permanent protection for the Alpine Triangle, visit http://alpinetriangle.com or contact Ty Churchwell, TU/SCP Backcountry Coordinator in Southwest Colorado at (970) 259-5116.