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Wilderness Character Monitoring in the Rocky Mountain West and How You Can Help

Tue, 2024-06-25

Daryl Kohut, Katie Goodleaf, and Mike Fugate will speak volunteering in service of wilderness at the June 25 Mountaineers meeting. In collaboration with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, a variety of initiatives at the Rio Grande National Forest are designed for public participation in crucial volunteer work. Particularly notable is the wilderness character monitoring program, a long-term project significantly bolstered by volunteer efforts, involving the collection of water samples in Wilderness areas on National Forest Service lands. Since the Wilderness Act of 1964 was signed into law, Congress has designated 37 million acres of National Forest Service land as wilderness1, about 19 percent of all the land managed by the Forest Service. The central mandate of the Wilderness Act is to preserve wilderness character. To support this effort, the long-term lake monitoring program began in the 1990s. The purpose of this program is to track the impact of atmospheric deposition on high-mountain lake ecosystems, the program also examines water chemistry as a significant ecological indicator. This presentation will provide an insight into the development and current status of the wilderness character monitoring program on the Rio Grande National Forest. Information on how to get involved with this program and other volunteer opportunities on the Rio Grande National Forest will be discussed. Mike Fugate, Los Alamos Mountaineers, will share his experience embarking on multiday backcountry trips to collect water samples in the South San Juan and La Garita Wilderness areas.

We welcome all to this Mountaineers’ meeting, on the regular fourth Tuesday of the month. The social hour, with cookies, begins at 6:45 PM and the program at 7:00 PM. The presentation will be streamed at Los Alamos Nature Center; the slides will be live-streamed on Zoom. Registration is required to Zoom and recommended for in-person – we would love to see your smiling face. Registration is at

High lakes in a New Mexico mountain wilderness


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