The Colorado Wilderness Project

Project Overview


The Colorado Wilderness Project is my personal attempt to create a collection of compelling landscape photographs from within all 44 federally managed wilderness areas in my home state of Colorado. 

Most photographs for this project are taken on arduous backpacking expeditions into remote backcountry areas. These are parts of Colorado that most people have never seen, and therefore have not yet learned to appreciate. So far, I have captured 6 out of the 44 wilderness areas in Colorado. My current progress can be viewed here.


My main goals include:

By showcasing these wild places, I hope to inspire a collective commitment to preserving and celebrating Colorado’s wilderness, which contains some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world.


The outcome of this project will be a printed photo book with a chapter on each wilderness area. Each chapter will contain curated photographs of the area as well as a written content about the area’s background, significance (e.g. cultural, historical, ecological, etc.), and personal stories from my time exploring the area. I would like to donate copies of this book to libraries throughout Colorado and the rest of the United States. In doing so, I not only hope to inspire the next generation of explorers and conservationists, but also serve as a role model for young women who are still largely underrepresented in both landscape photography, outdoor adventure, and STEM fields.

What is Wilderness?

Wilderness in the United States refers to a specific designation for public lands set aside and protected by federal law to preserve their natural, unspoiled character. Wilderness areas represent the last places in America where one can experience nature in its purest form.

The legislation that legally defined and designated wilderness areas in the United States is the Wilderness Act of 1964, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. According to this law, the term wilderness is defined as, “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” (source)

In other words, wilderness areas are truly wild places.

Unlike other public lands like National Parks or BLM lands, there are no roads, buildings, electricity, running water, or other manmade amenities. These areas are intentionally kept free from significant human development, and they are managed to maintain their wild and pristine condition. 

There are over 803 designated wilderness areas in the United States (which is only about 4.5% of the land area of the US), and 44 of them are in Colorado.

The key characteristics of wilderness areas in the United States include:

Why is Wilderness Important?

Wilderness is important for a wide variety of reasons, both tangible and intangible. 

The Wilderness Act recognizes many important benefits to wilderness, including “outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation,” and “ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value.”

Some of the most significant aspects of wilderness include:

Threats to Wilderness

Although wilderness areas are protected by federal law, there are many factors that still threaten how well they are preserved.

These threats are what I would like to highlight with this project, and the biggest ones include: