This is the fourth in a weekly series profiling the areas proposed by the Hidden Gems campaign for federal wilderness designation. (Links to the prior articles can be found at this site under search "Hidden Gems"). The campaign, led by Carbondale’s Wilderness Workshop, calls for more than 400,000 acres to be protected as wilderness. Most of the land is in the White River and Gunnison national forests, and includes areas in Pitkin, Gunnison, Eagle and Summit counties. An act of the U.S. Congress is required to designate new wilderness. The campaign has drawn criticism from some outdoor recreationalists, because all mechanized use and development is barred in federal wilderness.
ASPEN AND ROARING FORK VALLEY REAL ESTATE – Backcountry guide Dick Jackson describes the steep bowls of Treasure Mountain as “a magnet for snow.” The 13,500-foot summit in the West Elk Mountains, where storms are known to hover, is also a magnet for the boldest of mountaineers and among the most majestic pieces of the Hidden Gems Wilderness proposal.It’s one of three rugged areas in the Marble area that the campaign is aiming to protect.Treasure Mountain covers 3,870 acres south of Marble, and would be added to the existing 65,000-acre Raggeds Wilderness. Once the sight of a helicopter-based skiing operation, Treasure is roadless and has no developed trails. A wilderness designation would bar the possible return of heli skiing to the area, but not the act of skiing itself.
By Andrew Travers, Feb 27, 2010 Aspen Daily News