This is the sixth in a weekly series profiling the areas proposed by the Hidden Gems campaign for federal wilderness designation. The campaign, led by Carbondale’s Wilderness Workshop, calls for approximately 380,000 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

The 33-square-mile Assignation Ridge Wilderness proposed area is rich with aspen meadows, spruce-fir foret and some of the most unique geology in the American West.It contains the Thompson Creek Fins, which rise out of the landscape quite literally like red rock shark fins, just a stone’s throw from Carbondale.They were shaped by the same odd biliions of-years-ago erosion process that formed the sandstone treasures of Arches and Canyonlands national parks in Utah.
Andrew Travers, March 12, 2010 Aspen Daily News

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