Dolores River Canyon Wilderness Study Area
Included search variations: Dolores River Canyon Wilderness Study Area, Dolores Canyon
The Dolores River flows southwest from its headwaters at Lizard Head Pass in the San Juan Mountains near Telluride, but as it exits the mountains it takes a sharp turn to the north, flowing through scenic but relatively unknown canyon country along the western border of Colorado. One particularly magnificent stretch of this river canyon is encompassed by the Dolores River Canyon Wilderness Study Area, established in 1980 by the Bureau of Land Managment (BLM). With redrock sandstone cliffs rising over 1,000 feet above the river, bighorn sheep, ancient petrogyphs, and so much more, this area has scenic beauty and pristine wilderness character to rival national parks in Utah, yet it remains unprotected and indeed threatened by industrial development.
A massive salt injection facility has been proposed in the heart of the most accessible and arguably most grand section of the Dolores Canyon, along with an access road and two bridges spanning the river along the way. (Read more here and here). If this unthinkable sacrifice were to happen, Coloradans would lose a premier canyon wilderness for generations.
In February of 2021, The Colorado Wilderness Act was reintroduced to U.S. Congress and would finally protect the Dolores River Canyon as a designated wilderness area (along with a number of other critical areas needing protection). The act was passed through the House that same month, but has languished in the typical Senate gridlock since then.
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