A view into Wildcat Canyon on a recnet hike. PHoto Misi Ballard
Wildcat Canyon Call to Action
Protecting and restoring Wildcat Canyon is Wild Connections’ highest restoration priority. Wild Connections is advocating for increased funding and manpower for the Forest Service’s South Park and South Platte Ranger Districts to address the growing problem of illegal motorized use in Wildcat Canyon. Wild Connections can help the Forest Service to install permanent secure closures to block access to the illegal tracks, to educate the riding public about legal recreation options, and to restore areas damaged by illegal use.
The South Platte River, between Lake George and Cheesman Reservoirs, cuts a 1,200 foot deep gorge east of Lost Creek Wilderness known as Wildcat Canyon. This 7.3 mile stretch of the South Platte River was largely spared in the devastating 2002 Hayman Fire and is now one of the few healthy habitats in the Hayman burn area for large game mammals, birds of prey, migrating songbirds, and wild trout.
Rampant illegal OHV activity traveling on long-closed roads on both the east and west sides of the canyon and vehicles riding in the South Platte River and Tarryall Creek continues. Vehicles of all sizes are causing deep erosion on the closed roads, creating new illegal tracks across the hillsides, and damaging the delicate streambeds of the South Platte River and Tarryall Creek. The noise and air pollution associated with this illegal travel has tremendous negative impacts on area wildlife.
Wild Connections is working with other stakeholders to devise a permanent solution. It will take several years and concerted action but the future of Wildcat Canyon is at stake.
The S Platte River in Wildcat Canyon. Photo Curt Nimz
ATV in S. Platte River, Oct 2017. Photo Jim Lockhart.
Wild Connections' mission is to identify, protect, and restore wildlands, native species,
and biological diversity in the Arkansas and South Platte watersheds.