Posted on March 9, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Budget cutting would threaten robust recreation economy
An arch in Colorado’s Rattlesnake Canyon, part of the system of National Conservation Lands. Photo courtesy BLM.
Staff ReportFRISCO — House Republicans are continuing their nearly relentless attack on public lands with a threatened move to take away funding for more than 30 million acres of National Conservation Lands, including popular Colorado areas like the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area and McInnis Canyons NCA.Gutting the budget for the National Conservation Lands threatens access to public lands that drive the nation’s outdoor economy and provide a livelihood for many Westerners.
The push by the House Resources Committee is at odds with President Obama’s budget, which recognizes these lands are underfunded and proposes an increase in funding. Dozens of national monuments and national conservation areas across the West—places like Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, just outside of Las Vegas — would have to shut their doors. Continue reading
Filed under: BLM, Environment, national parks, public lands, wilderness | Tagged: Environment, House GOP, McInnis Canyons, national conservation lands, public lands, public lands wars | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 13, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Congressman Jared Polis.
Colorado lawmaker expected to be a pro-environment voice on a panel led conservative Republicans who often undermine federal efforts to manage public lands on the behalf of all Americans
FRISCO — A languishing proposal to create new wilderness areas in the Colorado mountains may get a boost in Congress this year, as U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (CO-02) joins the House Natural Resources Committee.
In the last two years, the committee has been a bastion of anti-government rhetoric, in some cases considering bills that would significantly weaken protection for natural resources and public lands. As a member of the minority, Polis won’t be able to get any meaningful legislation passed on his own, but his pro-environmental voice will be a welcome addition for public lands advocates. Continue reading
Filed under: BLM, Colorado, energy, Environment, forests, Hidden Gems wilderness, national parks, public lands, US Forest Service, wilderness | Tagged: energy, House Natural Resources Committee, Jared Polis, public lands, wilderness | 2 Comments »
Posted on January 26, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Conservation plan proposes 12 million acres of new wilderness
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on Alaska’s North Slope.
FRISCO — A far-reaching conservation plan for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska would designate 12 million acres of new wilderness, including critical wildlife habitat along the coastal plains that are home to vast herds of caribou.
On the White House blog, John Podesta and Mike Boots directly addressed the potential threat and disastrous consequences of a major oil spill in the region.
President Obama said he will make an official recommendation to Congress to designate core areas of the refuge – including its Coastal Plain – as wilderness, the highest level of protection available to public lands. Watch the President discuss the announcement here.
If Congress chooses to act, it would be the largest ever wilderness designation since Congress passed the Wilderness Act more than 50 years ago — but that’s highly unlikely with GOP control of Congress. In fact, Alaska’s pro-development lawmakers have already over-reacted by characterizing the announcement as a war on Alaska’s future, according to the Alaska Dispatch News, which has the best coverage of the story. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, Environment, public lands, wilderness | Tagged: ANWR, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Barack Obama, Environment, public lands, wilderness, wildlife | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 25, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Gridlock in Congress prompts request for designation
There’s a new push to create a national monument along the Arkansas River.
FRISCO — Citing gridlock in Congress, Colorado’s U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet have asked President Obama to consider designating Browns Canyon, in Chaffee County, as a national monument under the Antiquities Act.
The request comes as Congress has all but ignored a huge backlog of public lands bills primarily based on ideological opposition to land protection measures by House Republican committee chairs.
According to Udall and Bennet’s Nov. 25 letter to President Obama, community leaders in the Browns Canyon area suggested the Antiquities Act path, recognizing the significant economic benefits of the designation for regional tourism-based businesses. Continue reading
Filed under: BLM, Colorado, economy, Environment, public lands, rivers, US Forest Service, wilderness | Tagged: Antiquities Act, Barack Obama, Browns Canyon, Browns Canyon National Monument, Mark Udall, Michael Bennet, public lands | 2 Comments »
Posted on November 14, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Will Colorado get a new wilderness area this year?
Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act passed by Senate committee
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — In what may become a Christmas miracle, Congress is poised to actually pass a land protection measure before the end of the session. Lawmakers this week said they reached a compromise on a bill to protect the Hermosa Creek watershed near Durango.
As written, the legislation would create a 70,000-acre special management area and a 37,000-acre Wilderness area in the San Juan National Forest. The compromise includes opening a huge section of alpine backcountry around Molas Divide to snowmobiling. Continue reading
Filed under: BLM, Colorado, politics, public lands, wilderness | Tagged: Colorado, Environment, Hermosa Creek, public lands, wilderness | 2 Comments »
Posted on October 30, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
More wilderness in Southern California?
Roadless lands to be evaluated for wilderness qualities
FRISCO —In a rare administrative reversal, regional U.S. Forest Service officials told the Los Padres National Forest to reconsider its plans for seven roadless areas encompassing more than 220,000 acres in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Kern counties.
The decision directs forest planners to reevaluate the wilderness characteristics of seven areas and clarify how biologists will monitor and protect imperiled wildlife. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, forests, public lands, US Forest Service, wilderness | Tagged: Los Padres National Forest, national forests, public lands, roadless areas, wilderness | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 27, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Federal lands in the U.S. Courtesy Univ. of Montana.
New website offers glimpse of ongoing efforts to ‘de-federalize’ the West
FRISCO — On and off efforts to force the transfer of federally managed public western lands to individual states have grown beyond campaign rhetoric.
These days, there’s a semi-organized effort on the part of lawmakers in several western states to try and take over millions of acres of forests and rangelands. The history of the so-called Sagebrush Rebellion, with roots in the Reagan era, is outlined in detail on this University of Colorado website. Continue reading
Filed under: BLM, national parks, public lands, US Forest Service, wilderness | Tagged: crazy ideas, public lands, sagebrush rebellion, states rights, West | 1 Comment »