Polis writes draft Hidden Gems wilderness bill

Measure would protect 170,000 acres in Eagle and Summit counties

A map associated with the draft Hidden Gems wilderness bill shows the areas to be included. Click on the image for a larger PDF version, opening in Scribd.com window.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Hidden Gems proposal to add big chunks of new wilderness in Colorado’s White River National Forest has now been set forth by Congressman Jared Polis in draft legislation.

The Eagle and Summit County Wilderness Preservation Act takes much of the vision of the Hidden Gems and turns it into a concrete reality, wilderness activists said in an e-mail to members and supporters of the plan.

The measure would protect nearly 170,000 acres in Eagle and Summit County with either wilderness designation or as special management areas that allow helicopter training while providing maximum landscape protections. Click here to read the draft bill.

The protection areas include all or portions of the following Hidden Gems proposal areas: Adam Mountain, Acorn Creek, Bull Gulch, Castle Peak, Freeman Creek, Hoosier Ridge, No Name, Pisgah Mountain, Porcupine Gulch, Ptarmigan A, Red Table, Spraddle Creek, Tenmile, Ute Pass, West Lake Creek, Williams Fork, and Woods Lake wilderness proposal areas. Also included were the Hoosier Ridge and Tenmile companion designation areas. See the map.

In all, the proposed legislation contains 14 wilderness areas, two companion designation areas and three special management areas. The companion areas are located in Summit County, and were the result of negotiations between Hidden Gems, the town of Breckenridge and the Summit Fat Tire Society, a mountain biking group. The special management areas are designed to provide wilderness quality landscape protection while supporting continued military helicopter training.

Click here to read a legislative guide for the proposal.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/35626542/Hidden-Gems-Draft-Bill

http://www.scribd.com/doc/35626476/Hidden-Gems-Map

http://www.scribd.com/doc/35626571/Hidden-Gems-Legislation-Guide

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4 thoughts on “Polis writes draft Hidden Gems wilderness bill

  1. QUOTE “The measure would protect nearly 170,000 acres in Eagle and Summit County with either wilderness designation or as special management areas that allow helicopter training while providing maximum landscape protections”

    Not exactly. The language of this bill in fact will turn Red Table Mountain (currently managed as recommended wilderness under the 2002 WRNF Plan) into basically a military training reservation for HAATS where anything goes and no restrictions apply. It allows them to establish NEW training in these areas, rather than (as the Forest Plan requires) removing existing training-landing areas from recommended wilderness.

    As I read this draft language, military helicopter incursions and landings into these areas is not only allowed at current levels, it’s allowed to expand without any restriction.

    That’s not wilderness nor protection, Bob. Not by a long shot. The use of the word “landscape protection” to here describe “wilderness” is meaningless and really not wilderness.

    TWS and AWW have really blown it on this one.

    Thom Phillips

    1. @Joe Swank you’re so right. Lets have more roads, litter, development, and destruction of what little we have left. Let me guess you want to graze your cattle on public land because you can’t afford to feed them. Or maybe you don’t like to get your overweight rear end off your ATV to hike into wilderness. Could be an arogant ski town mountain biker who isn’t satisfied with the thousands of miles of trails already available to you. If I’m wrong please enlighten me.

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