Mountain Mayhem: A Golden Anniversary |

Mountain Mayhem: A Golden Anniversary

Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune greets the crowd at Wild Fest at Owl Farm.

Since 1967, Wilderness Workshop has been a force to be reckoned with in designating and protecting public lands. The conservation organization was founded by a tenacious trio of women: Connie Harvey, Dottie Fox and Joy Caudill, affectionately nicknamed the “Maroon Belles.” Compelled to protect much of beautiful natural surroundings of the Roaring Fork Valley at a time when the future of this land was at stake, they came together using grassroots efforts to secure congressional designation for what is now the Hunter-Fryingpan, Collegiate Peaks, Raggeds and West Elks Wilderness areas. Also through their efforts, the acreage designated within the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area was doubled.

In 1978, The Endangered American Wilderness Act was passed, followed in 1980 with the Colorado Wilderness Act, enabling the organization to continue its advocacy for wilderness, public lands protection and wildlife habitat. Today, Wilderness Workshop remains true to its roots, striving to promote community involvement as a front line tool.

For its 50th anniversary celebration, Wilderness Workshop presented a pair of special events June 28 with Wild Feast at the Caribou Club, and July 1 with Wild Fest at Owl Farm. While similar in name, each event was unique in identity and served as a memorable gathering for those in attendance and thoughtful tribute to the legacy of Wilderness Workshop.

Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune was a guest speaker at each event, thanking and also inspiring all to take action, noting “Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Brune remarked upon the important work by Wilderness Workshop over the past 50 years, and the Sierra Club, which was founded by preservationist John Muir 125 years ago.

In addition to the founders of Wilderness Workshop, Brune thanked the board, supporters and staff currently carrying the torch including Sloane Shoemaker, Rebecca Mirsky, Will Roush, Alicia Zeringue, Tracy Pihl, Justin Patrick, Peter Hart and Melanie Finan.

More events and opportunities to be involved with Wilderness Workshop are on the horizon including screenings of its incredibly moving 50th anniversary film by Greg Poschman with spectacular scenic images from Pete McBride. Learn more at

Contact May with insights, invites or info:

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User