Thursday, April 14, 2011

Colorado Mountain Club says Roadless Proposal Still Falls Short


Colorado Mountain Club says Roadless Proposal Still Falls Short    
Plan improves from earlier versions

DENVER, Colo – In response to the USDA’s release of a draft rule today to manage Colorado’s national forest roadless areas, the Colorado Mountain Club issued the following statement.  

Today’s proposal by the Obama administration would replace the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule with a new policy to manage Colorado’s 4.4 million acres of undeveloped national forests.

We recognize that the Obama administration’s proposed rule has improved somewhat from earlier versions, but unfortunately it still falls short of its commitment to protect Colorado’s roadless forests with standards equal to or greater than the 2001 National Roadless Rule.

As outdoor enthusiasts, we need public lands and their topography to do what we do – climbers need escarpments and hikers, mountain bikers, skiers and snowshoers need trails. We have an unshakeable conservation and stewardship ethic towards the land reflected in the thousands of volunteer hours our members spend on our local forests and also in our active involvement in how national forest lands are managed.

Outdoor recreation contributes more than $10 billion annually to the Colorado economy, supporting 107,000 jobs in the state and generating $500 million annually in state tax revenue. The availability of high quality outdoor recreation opportunities is a major contributing factor to the quality of life in our state. Simply put, many of our members live and work in Colorado because of the recreational opportunities.

The Colorado Mountain Club treasures the kinds of experiences that Roadless Areas provide. Many of Colorado’s Roadless Areas contain world-class climbing routes, hiking and biking trails, rivers, and backcountry ski and snowshoe destinations. The quality of these resources is rooted not only in the distinctive topography, but their setting. 

While we maintain that a Colorado-specific rule is not needed because there is already a carefully crafted, strongly supported national rule in place, any rule that is finalized should provide at least the level of protection found in the National Roadless Rule.  Colorado’s roadless forests are a state treasure and a national asset—they merit greater protection than what is currently provided in the Obama proposal and they deserve the same level of protection as those in other states. 

The current proposal still falls short of the Obama administration’s roadless commitment.  This comment period provides an important opportunity to make needed improvements and abide by that commitment.

For more information, contact Bryan Martin, CMC Director of Conservation at 303-996-2768 or email