14,100 acres (22.0 square miles)
Pisgah Mountain rises 2,000 feet from the Colorado River, which has carved an extensive and scenic canyon on the north and east sides of the unit. The presence of the river’s riparian ecosystem affords a great variety of flora and fauna and adds to the unit’s outstanding scenic qualities. This is a diverse area in the foothills and lower montane life zones. The 8,600-foot elevation of Pisgah Mountain, which is the unit’s high point, puts Pisgah well below the altitude of most designated Wilderness areas in Colorado. It is also an underrepresented ecosystem in existing protected areas.
The rugged topography of the Pisgah Mountain area reduces the frequency of visitation. This gives the area a wild, unpopulated feeling and makes it a prime resource for non-motorized, non-developed recreation. Red rock cliffs of the State Bridge formation fringe Pisgah Mountain and add to its sense of isolation.
Ponderosa pines grow along the Colorado River and arid, rock grasslands cover the flanks of Pisgah Mountain. Scattered aspen groves add diversity to an otherwise austere desert environment.
What’s special about it
Archaeology: The area likely contains significant Ute artifacts, including dwellings known as wickiups, but no extensive archeological surveys have been conducted. In addition, the area provides a “habitat linkage zone” for the lynx.
Gas development: The entire area is open to oil and gas leasing. Actual leasing is not likely on Pisgah due to its low potential for oil and gas deposits, and the area’s important values can thus be protected as Wilderness without conflicting with regional gas development.
Motor recreation: Although the area is part of the successful Castle Peak Travel Plan, some illegal ORV occurs off of designated trails and has resulted in air pollution, water degradation, and damage to important wildlife habitat.
Currently, the Colorado Army National Guard High Altitude Aviation Training Site (HAATS) conducts military helicopter training operations over Pisgah Mountain. These operations are an important element in preparing troops for military action. Hidden Gems Campaign respects the HAATS program’s contribution both to local communities and to national security. The Hidden Gems Campaign is committed to securing strong and enduring protection for the wildland features of Pisgah Mountain, in a manner that ensures the continued operation of the important HAATS program.
Also, adjustments to the proposal area might become necessary to accommodate exercise of existing water diversion rights on the north side of the area.
How to get there
The proposed Pisgah Mountain Wilderness Area is located between Bond and the Flat Tops Wilderness, adjacent to the Colorado River along Hwy 131. Many trails cross through the area.
· From CO 131 between Wolcott and State Bridge go east on BLM road 8520. 8520 is the southern boundary of the eastern part of the unit.
· From the Colorado River Road (CR 301) between Dotsero and McCoy, at Blue Hill go east on CR 41, which becomes BLM Road 8530. BLM road 8350 and BLM road 8536 act as the southern boundary for the main part of the unit.