Obstacles to this basic need to roam, such as human development, can provide formidable threats to long-term survival of many species. For the large carnivores, it's not just about losing the freedom to move, it's about losing a natural process.
Melton is worried about proposed natural gas drilling in the Thompson Divide, which borders his property. He estimates that half of his business is done on leased national forest lands where he takes guests on rides through the summer and leads hunting trips in the fall.
With the vast majority of gas-rich public lands in Colorado leased and already slated for development, it's more urgent than ever that these assessments are made and community voices are heard before more of our forgotten wilderness areas disappear.