Letters: Support for new Colorado wilderness

Will Congress act?

asdfs

A view of the Gore Range from the flanks of the Williams Fork Range, at the edge of a new wilderness area proposed by Congressman Jared Polis. @bberwyn photo.

wilderness-map

A map of the areas covered by the Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act.

FRISCO — In May, Congressman Jared Polis reintroduced a bill to create about 39,000 acres of new wilderness in Summit and Eagle counties.

According to Polis, the Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act will help sustain recreational resources, protect watersheds, preserve important wildfire corridors, and strengthen Colorado’s tourism economy.

Along with new wilderness, the bill would also designate 16,000 acres as special management areas for recreation, and where some other activities, including wildfire mitigation and forest health treatments would be permitted.

Trace the history of Polis’ push for new wilderness in the central Colorado mountains in these Summit Voice stories going back to 2010.

Letters:

Dear Editor,

Congressman Jared Polis’ introduction of the Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act should be applauded. This bill, the result of 5 years of local community engagement and consensus, is important not just to the central Rocky Mountains but to Colorado as a whole. Many Coloradans know this area for the endless recreational opportunities, whether it’s hiking, biking, camping, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, or just relaxing. As the owner of Seymour Lodging Corp, Colorado wilderness is of particular importance to me.

Owning a small business is never easy, particularly when your business is dependent on external factors such as weather and consumer discretionary income. Fortunately for myself and many other small business owners across the state, the designation of wilderness, in addition to enhancing quality of life, makes local tourism a little more secure.

The Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act protects many areas in the White River National Forest, which draws more than 9 million visitors annually; these visitors then support local tourism and outdoor recreation businesses.

The outdoor recreation industry in Colorado is a critical part of the state’s economy which generates $13.2 billion annually in consumer spending, and supports 125,000 jobs which pay over $4 billion in wages to Coloradans. Many small mountain towns count on tourism and outdoor recreation to stay afloat. I know personally how difficult this can be, and I would like to thank Congressman Polis for investing in the state of Colorado.

Richard Seymour

***

Dear Editor,

After reading about the recent introduction of the Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act, I wanted to publicly thank Representative Jared Polis for his work protecting Colorado. As an avid hiker, I deeply enjoy spending free time in the Central Mountains.

Over the past 5 years Rep. Polis has worked with a plethora of local stakeholders to ensure that this legislation truly helps to support the local community- this hard work has paid off, garnering the support of everyone from mountain bikers and conservationists to hunters and small businessmen.

If passed, the Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act would provide important protections for key watersheds in the Central Mountains and safeguard our ever-valuable Colorado water for local communities and the greater Front Range. As well, the Act would protect some of Colorado’s best fishing streams and preserve valuable wildlife habitat; thank you, Representative Polis!

Eddie Welsh

Eddie Welsh is history and political science major at Colorado State University.  He has a special interest in environmental issues here in Colorado, particularly in the Central Mountains where he spend a great deal of  time.

Park Service slammed for new bike trail at Big Bend NP

The Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park. PHOTO COURTESY NATIONAL PARK SERVICE.

Watchdog groups raise conflict of interest issues and fault the park planning process

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A simmering controversy over a new mountain bike trail in Big Bend National Park boiled over again earlier this month, as the park service started work on the trail before publishing a formal Finding of No Significant Impact or issuing required  rule-making.

Conservation groups are stewing over the project, which will create a trail in an area previously identified as potential wilderness. They also see a potential conflict of interest on the part of a former park service official now involved with a local mountain bike advocacy group. Continue reading

Ski resorts, mountain bikers form new partnership

Mountain biking at Colorado ski areas could benefit from a new partnership between the National Ski Areas Association and the International Mountain Biking Association.

Formal cooperation could lead to expanded cycling opportunities at ski areas the next few years

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Developed mountain bike activities at ski resorts around the country could get a boost from a new partnership between the National Ski Areas Association and the International Mountain Bicycling Association aiming to increase visitation and improve summer mountain biking experiences at U.S. ski areas.

The two organizations signed a memorandum of understanding about the same time Congress passed a ski area summer use bill that could ease permitting for more extensive mountain bike facilities than currently exist. The mountain bike organization helped the ski industry lobby for passage of the summer use bill.

“Formalizing our partnership with IMBA is a logical progression, and we look forward to strengthening our symbiotic relationship further and leveraging the resources of both of our organizations toward the end benefit of our valued members,”  NSAA president Michael Berry said in a press release. Continue reading

Colorado: Cycling season peaks with races, winery tours

Colorado cycling will be showcased with a slew of races and other special events.

Explore the Centennial State on two wheels

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — From townie cruisers to body armored downhillers and sleek road-racers, Colorado is a true Mecca for cyclists, and this summer’s lineup of special events underscores the point.

In August, some of the world’s best road racers will be in the state for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, while top mountain bikers will line up to tackle the Leadville 100 and a marathon-length race up Pikes Peak.

And besides all that, the BMX scene is also growing by leaps and bounds, with the opening of a new track in South Park and another under construction in Frisco.

In short, there’s never been a better time to explore Colorado on two wheels. Here is a partial listing of Colorado cycling adventures for every speed:

•    August 13 – The Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race is among the most challenging mountain bike races in the country, featuring steep climbs and serious descents at elevations in excess of 12,000 feet. Although this year’s mountain bike race is full, thousands will travel to Leadville to watch and cheer on their favorites
.

•    August 13 – The Stonewall Century is a challenging road bike ride in southern Colorado that starts and ends in La Veta. Be treated to scenic vistas, friendly volunteers, great feed stations, and steep hills. The route follows Highway 12, a Colorado Scenic Byway known as the “Highway of Legends.” Continue reading

Vail’s Grand Traverse trail open for mountain biking

Vail Mountain's bike trails are open for the summer.

Resort working on new intermediate and beginner bike trails for next summer

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — In a sure sign that summer has finally arrived in the Colorado high country, Vail Resorts announced last week that the Grand Traverse — a signature mountain bike trail on Vail Mountain — is  open for the season.

Trails crews worked until late in the week to remove the last bits of snow from the ridgetop ride that features spectacular views of the Holy Cross Wilderness and the Gore Range.

From Eagle’s Nest, the 4.9 mile trail starts out easy as it loops through Game Creek Bowl and becomes increasingly difficult as it wraps around the top of Sun Down Bowl. Mountain bikers can exit Grand Traverse at Wildwood or Patrol Headquarters to Kloser’s Klimb. Continue reading

Colorado: Big logging project begins on Frisco Peninsula

A GoogleEarth view of the Frisco Peninsula shows the huge expanse of red, dead lodgepole pines.

Crown Point Road to be closed, campgrounds, trails remain open

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Major logging operations are set to begin on the Frisco Peninsula July 11 as the U.S. Forest Service clears out beetle-killed trees.

Campgrounds on the peninsula will stay open, but Crown Point Road (FSR #1008.1) will be closed to vehicle traffic. Hiking and mountain biking trails will not be closed but the public should expect to see heavy machinery felling and skidding trees across some trails.

Visitors to the area are asked to use caution while on the peninsula and to consider an alternative location for hiking or mountain biking. Most of the felling will be on the west side of the Peninsula. Signs will be posted for hikers and bikers to inform people of the tree-felling operations. Continue reading

Mountain news roundup

Snow drought in New Zealand, more on fracking, prairie dogs roaming free, and the Path of the Pronghorn

Summer mountain biking in Crested Butte — Photo by JC Leacock, courtesy Crested Butte Mountain Resort.

Crested Butte Bike Week starts June 23

Crested Butte Bike Week, formerly Fat Tire Bike Week, returns for its 31st year with a new name to celebrate the evolution of mountain biking in a town recognized by many as the sport’s birthplace. The 4-day event kicks off June 23 with a Night at the Museum party at the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame to honor past supporters and visionaries who helped discover and further the sport.

Racing begins on Friday, June 24, with the Wildflower Rush, the fifth stop of the 2011 Mountain States Cup tour. This year’s downhill event is part of the Pro-GRT series, bringing the best gravity racers to the slopes of Crested Butte Mountain Resort to test their skills in the Evolution Bike Park.

This year the organizers have added reggae to the mix, hosting Toots and the Maytals and The Melodians on Saturday night, June 25, at the Red Lady Stage at Mt. Crested Butte.

Read more stories after the break …

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