High Country Conservation Advocates was founded in 1977—as High Country Citizens’ Alliance—to protect Gunnison County, Colorado from a proposed molybdenum mine on Mt. Emmons. Known locally as “Red Lady,” Mt. Emmons rises directly above the Town of Crested Butte’s historic district. HCCA has successfully led campaigns to defeat two mining proposals and is currently challenging a third attempt. As an outgrowth of this work, we have become Gunnison County’s environmental leader, protecting public lands, water, and wildlife in an area that covers more than 3,500 square miles, which is larger than any National Park in the lower forty-eight.
We are a grassroots organization that collaborates with local stakeholders and policymakers, applies sound science, educates, and upholds the environmental laws affecting our community. We recognize that environmental sustainability is the key to a healthy economy.
We advocate for protection along the high alpine tundra of the Raggeds Wilderness and Collegiates, past the steep cliffs of the Black Canyon, from the North Fork of the Gunnison River’s rolling scrub oak hills and aspen groves, to the rushing waters of the Lake Fork. Our work ensures these iconic public lands and waters will be healthy for generations to come.