Dottie Fox, one of the greatest old broads

 

It’s never pleasant to read the obituary of someone you’ve met several times and admired for more years than you can remember. But the several obituaries of wilderness advocate Dottie Fox of Aspen, 86, who died Sept. 11, glowed with admiration for her joie de vivre and effectiveness. As reported by the Rocky Mountain News, Dave Reed of the Wilderness Workshop said, "She was gutsy, fearless, irreverent, artistic, fun-loving and funny … Her love for the backcountry was infectious." Fox co-founded the Wilderness Workshop along with two other Aspenites — Connie Harvey and Joy Caudill — and campaigned to designate wilderness areas in Colorado. Thanks to their efforts, by 1980, the state could boast the Hunter-Fryingpan, an expanded Maroon Bells and the Collegiate Peaks wilderness areas. Dottie also worked for the creation of the West Elks and Raggeds wilderness areas, and co-founded that feisty group, Great Old Broads for Wilderness. She was a watercolorist and taught at Colorado Mountain College for 18 years, and she enjoyed hiking almost into her 80s. Dottie died after a five-year bout with cancer, having stopped treatment that had become ineffective. Her death was in keeping with her life: "She wanted to be home, and she was," Connie Harvey told the Aspen Times. "She died very peacefully in her sleep. It was just the way she wanted. She had a terrific life, and a good kind of death I’d say, too."