Half a dozen proposals for land protection span more than 1 million acres
By Bob Berwyn
*Click here to learn more about this weekend’s hike in proposed new Summit County wilderness area
SUMMIT COUNTY — There may be a huge backlog of wilderness bills in Congress, but conservation advocates aren’t about to give up on their efforts to preserve public lands in Colorado. Read more about the political wrangling over wilderness in this Summit Voice story.
In fact, the recent oil and gas boom on the Western Slope has recharged wilderness protection efforts, as supporters rally around the new “equal ground” theme, asking President Obama and Congress to protect at least as many acres as are allocated for energy development.
Along with being ecologically important, protected areas are increasingly seen as critical to the region’s recreation economy. Protected areas also enhance property values in adjacent communities.
In Colorado, there are six proposals that would expand wilderness by more than 1 million acres. The biggest is U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette‘s Colorado Wilderness Act, which includes 31 areas for a total of 750,000 acres, including many chunks of mid-elevation lands that are crucial for wildlife. Continue reading
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