Wildcat Mountain - 5,630 acres (8.8 square miles)
This proposed Wilderness Area occupies lands in the upper Fryingpan River drainage on the northern border of the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness Area. The Wildcat Mountain Wilderness Addition occupies steep, timbered, northeast-facing slopes above the main Fryingpan River. The area lies next to Mt. Yeckel and the Margy's Hut. As a whole, the proposed area features large areas of Engelmann spruce/subalpine fir forest and scattered aspen stands. Elevations in the proposed area range from about 8,000 feet near Thomasville, to 12,094 feet on Wildcat Mountain.
What's special about it?
The Fryingpan River corridor is lined with public and private developments, including Thomasville, Diamond J Ranch, Norrie Colony, Chapman Campground, Nast Colony, and Ivanhoe Reservoir. This degree of development along the valley bottom makes it all the more important to protect what habitat remains relatively undisturbed nearby. The proposal area provides people with hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, and skiing opportunities in an area that would be permanently protected guaranteeing quality experiences for these activities in perpetuity.
There is potential for further development of private lands along the Fryingpan River. There has been extensive development of water diversion tunnels in the vicinity. The Chapman Gulch, South Fork, Fryingpan Lakes, and Ivanhoe Lake Roads were all constructed to access the ends of various tunnels that combine to divert water from the Fryingpan drainage underneath the Continental Divide to the Arkansas River basin. There is no better way to protect the water quality of important watersheds like this than through a wilderness designation. There is also accessible timber in these areas that may one day attract commercial attention.
Over half of the original proposal area was removed from the proposal area at the request of residents of the Upper Frying Pan Valley and in particular the Upper Frying Pan Caucus. Adjustments were made at the request of local outfitters, adjacent landowners, motorized recreationalists and climbers. See Table of Adjustments for details.
Division of Wildlife habitat qualities, species of significance
Not inventoried by the Division of Wildlife.
How to get there
The proposed Wildcat Mountain Wilderness Area is located immediately southeast of Thomasville, 10 miles west of Leadville, and 10 miles northeast of Aspen. Approach it from the Fryingpan Road (FS 105), which begins in Basalt.
- Drive up the Fryingpan Road, past Ruedi Reservoir. Just past Thomasville, the proposed Wildcat Mountain Wilderness Area begins on your right. Take FS road 105.4 to drive along the area's northern border, (improved dirt).
- It is also possible to reach the southern side of the proposal area by driving up to Lenado and following the Yeckel Road (526.1) towards the Margy Hut. The proposal area is to your north (left) as you approach the hut.
- The USGS 7 1⁄2' quads for the proposed Wildcat Mountain Wilderness Area are Meredith and Nast.