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Steamboat Magazine

Wetlands Through the Eyes of John Fielder

08/30/2023 07:00AM ● By Ski Town Media

(Photo: "Sunrise, Skillet Lake, Flat Tops Wilderness" - The Bear River is the headwaters of the Yampa and is fed by any number of alpine lakes including Skillet. This image portrays the remoteness and solitude characteristics of Colorado wilderness.)

From Steamboat Magazine Outdoors Edition 2023.

Photography by John Fielder. 

Steamboat Springs, CO - For 40 years, John Fielder has captured the natural beauty of Colorado through his camera lens. Working to promote the protection of the state’s ranches, open spaces and wildlands, John has used his photography to influence people and legislation. “Nature is paying a high price as our rivers dry up, and alarm bells are sounding as we witness declining flows in our beloved Yampa,” he says. 

Chronicling the plight of the Yampa River is among John’s most recent projects. His river images are featured at the Tread of Pioneers Museum in an exhibit called “Lens on the River: A Photographic Journey on the Yampa River with John Fielder.” John’s hope is that the exhibit will help raise awareness of the threats that the Yampa River faces and will help increase measures to protect the health and vitality of the river. John is donating his commission on the sale of the signed exhibit prints to Friends of the Yampa, a local nonprofit whose mission is to protect and enhance the environmental and recreational integrity of the Yampa River. 

In June, John donated his life’s work of Colorado photography to History Colorado Center. Founded in 1879, it is the state’s primary repository for artifacts and photographs. In July, the Denver-based museum opens a 3,000 square-foot exhibit celebrating John’s life as a nature photographer. 

"Lake Catamount Sunrise"- Lake Catamount is a private 530-acre reservoir along the Yampa River that was constructed in the 1970s, when it was thought that Colorado may be hosting the Winter Olympics. Shadows and reflections define the moment.

"Cross Mountain Gorge" - Lying east of Dinosaur, this escarpment treats the flow of the river with complete disregard, resulting in almost unraftable class VI rapids. The Bureau of Land Management manages this 1,000-foot-deep gorge as a wilderness study area to protect the gorge’s natural values.

"Rafting Dinosaur National Monument" - The canyons of Dinosaur afford a lovely combination of both fast and flat water. Rafters have time to soak up the sights before the adrenaline rush of the next big rapid.

"Blanketflower, Dinosaur National Monument" - The Yampa River terminates in the middle of Dinosaur National Monument, below steep canyon walls at its confluence with the Green River. The weather–wet month of June and high water provide a bounty of wildflowers for the discerning eye.

"Carpenter Ranch Sunset" - The Nature Conservancy manages this historic, biologically significant property as a working cattle ranch to explore ways to simultaneously pursue agricultural production and the conservation of streamside and wetland habitats along the Yampa. “I got lucky one summer’s eve as the sun set downstream,” John Fielder says.

To learn more about John Fielder and to explore more of his work, be sure to visit: