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.
For a timeline of WW’s landmark achievements, click here.
Bonus historical material:
- Map of proposed wilderness areas on the WRNF, prepared by Aspen Wilderness Workshop in 1979.
- “Attempt Launched to Enlarge Maroon Wilderness Area” – Grand Junction Sentinel – this is the earliest published reference we have to the Aspen Wilderness Workshop. There’s no date on the clipping, but we believe it’s from 1971.