One hundred years ago, Trappers Lake, 50 miles east of Meeker, looked much as it does today because its unique beauty inspired a young Forest Service employee to take action.
In 1919, the Forest Service dispatched its first landscape architect, Arthur H. Carhart, to Trappers Lake with instructions to survey 100 planned summer home sites and a road around the lake. The 27-year-old completed his plan, but he closed his report with a strongly worded recommendation that the area remain roadless and undeveloped:
“There are a number of places with scenic values of such great worth that they are rightfully the property of all people. They should be preserved for all time for the people of the Nation and the world. Trappers Lake is unquestionably a candidate for that classification.”~Arthur H. Carhart
Carhart’s recommendation was bold, unprecedented and effective; the Forest Service set the development plans aside for further study and the proposed road was never built. Mr. Carhart went on to work with Forest Service employee and renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, and the memorandum detailing their shared approach to preservation became the foundation of the Wilderness concept. Today the Forest Service manages over 36 million acres of designated Wilderness.
To commemorate Carhart’s Wilderness preservation legacy, rangers from the Blanco Ranger District of the White River National Forest are presenting interpretive discussions at Trappers Lake, a.k.a. the “Cradle of Wilderness.” The presentations will be held each Saturday through Sept. 28, at 7 p.m. at the Trappers Lake Cutthroat Campground Amphitheater.
For more information, please contact the Blanco Ranger District at 970-878-4039.