Since Colorado, along with the rest of the West, has primarily been an arena for extractive industries and development, the bulk of the Archives' collections on land use, mining, agriculture and politics contain some environmental and conservation information. However, it was not until the 1960s that citizen groups, activists, politicians, and public health officials began to concentrate on the issues of preserving natural spaces and wildlife from development; safeguarding communities from air, water, and ground pollution; and balancing the demands for growth with the desire to maintain Colorado's environmental quality.
Political, environmental organization, and individual activist collections contain correspondence, reports, and subject files relating to pollution, development and wildlife concerns. The Archives' environmental collections reflect national, regional and local issues. During the 1980s, the Archives was able to acquire a number of political collections which contained material on both the growth and development of Western nuclear facilities and the considerable protest movement against them in Colorado and the West.
The nationwide, as well as the regional, search for nuclear waste storage has generated community protest as well as individual examination and comment on such issues as the environmental effects of nuclear facilities and explosions, uranium tailings, the possible creation of a high level nuclear waste facility at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, and the hazards presented by the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Facility. In addition, the end of the Cold War, following 1989, reduced the need for nuclear weapons along with the concomitant "antinuke" protest movement which also focused locally on the presence of the Rocky Flats Facility.