Other Congressionally Designated Areas


view looking into canyon from vista

Roubideau  Area (19,650 acres)

The Roubideau Canyon is  a secret treasure with expansive vistas, perennial streams and a diverse ecosystem offering outstanding opportunities for solitude, primitive and unconfined recreation, and educational and scientific study.  

Congress recognized the outstanding wild values of the Forest Service portion of Roubideau Canyon in 1993 by placing the Roubideau Area off limits to development and motorized vehicles. The Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) inventory in 1988 had already set aside the lower portion of Roubideau as a Wilderness Study Area (WSA) to allow Congress time to consider permanent Wilderness protection. Because the proposed expanded Roubideau Area spans life zones from upper Sonoran desert at 5,000 feet to sub-alpine at 9,500 feet, it provides a rare opportunity to preserve an ecologically diverse canyon that would greatly enrich the National Wilderness Preservation System (Map).

Tabeguache Area  (9,193 acres)

Tabeguache Creek and its North Fork begin in fertile subalpine bowls atop the Uncompahgre Plateau. The main fork plunges quickly into a steep-walled canyon of brilliant red Wingate Sandstone, while the North Fork takes a more leisurely route, winding 5 miles through an unbroken expanse of vibrant aspen before it also drops abruptly into a deep canyon lined with red sandstone cliffs. These cliffs, normally associated with desert terrain, are surrounded by lush greenery in this unique melding of canyon and mountain country. The area is named for the Tabeguache band of Utes who roamed the Uncompahgre Plateau until 1880, when they were exiled to the Uintah Reservation in Utah. Tabeguache loosely translates as “place where the snow melts first” or “sunny side.” True to its name, Tabeguache Creek drains the southwestern escarpment of the Uncompahgre Plateau, a broad shield that rises gradually from the east to a deceptive elevation more than a mile above the surrounding plains. Carved by the San Miguel and Dolores rivers, the western edge of the uplift drops more precipitously. 

The Colorado Wilderness Act of 1993 designated land surrounding Tabeguache Creek as one of a number of special "Areas" in Colorado.  Under the terms of the Act, the BLM and U.S. Forest Service are directed by Congress to manage the Tabeguache Area to protect its wilderness values (Map).

view of Henry Mts in Fossil Ridge from lake

Fossil Ridge Recreation Management Area (43,900 acres)

Congress noticed the unique value of Fossil Ridge and designated it wilderness in the 1993 Colorado Wilderness Act. Congress also prohibited logging and mining on another 43,900 acres surrounding the wilderness, but permitted motorized vehicles to continue using the existing trails in this area called the Fossil Ridge Recreation Management Area (Map).

In addition to congressionally designated wilderness and wild and scenic rivers, Congress has designated at least 97 individual areas within the National Forest System for their special characteristics and the opportunities they offer. While many of the designations are unique, the areas can generally be grouped into six categories: national monuments (6, including one administrative designation); recreation areas (26); scenic areas (11); game refuges (6); protection areas (38); and other (11). They include these National Historic Landmarks (NHL), National Volcanic Monuments (NVM), National Historic Scenic Areas (NHS), National Recreation Areas (NRA), Scenic Recreation Areas (SRA), National Scenic Areas (NSA), National Preserves (NP), and National Monuments (NM). In 1993, three special areas were established on the GMUG.