Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Conservation Chronicles - August 2012

(L-R) John Fielder, Kurt Kunkle (CEC) and Scott Braden (CMC) 

Earlier this month I joined renowned photographer John Fielder and Colorado Environmental Coalition (CEC) to call attention to a raft of anti-conservation bills in the U.S. Congress.  A new report on the bills has been released by the group Environment Colorado.

These bills, outlined in the report, would turn back the clock on hard won conservation rules that help keep Colorado's wildernesses and open spaces pristine and open to recreation. Read more on this at our blog.

These bills illustrate that it is not enough to only seek new protections for the special lands we love.  We must also be vigilant and defend our existing conservation successes and our bedrock environmental laws that safeguard our quality of life and Colorado's recreation economy.

Scott Braden
Conservation Director

Defending Quiet Recreation & Wild Places

Right now there are several planning processes happening on public lands that will have impacts, both positive and negative, on wild lands and human-powered recreation.  CMC Conservation is tracking and engaging on these projects, but we encourage CMC members and the public to weigh in on places you know and where you recreate.  Decision makers want to hear from you and are legally-bound to consider your comments. Here is a breakdown of individual projects and links to comment or find more information:

Map of Headwaters EA 

High Peaks to Headwaters Watershed Restoration.  The Forest Service proposes to develop an riparian restoration plan on select watersheds in the Clear Creek Ranger District of the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest.  This includes decommissioning and reclaiming about 19 miles of roads, about 5 miles of which are currently open to the public. The routes in question are mostly spurs or parallel routes to existing roads, so there is no anticipated significant loss or recreational access.  Comments are due by September 10 and documents and maps can be found here.

High Country Travel Management Plan.  South Platte Ranger District of the Pike-San Isabel National Forest is seeking public input on proposed changes to travel and recreation management.  According to officials, high levels of public use in some areas  Extensive camping and motorized use off authorized routes is causing unacceptable resource damage, including to fragile subalpine and alpine tundra, wetlands, and fens. This plan will affect lands and routes near Guanella Pass west to the Continental Divide, and between Mt Evans and Lost Creek Wildernesses along Highway 285.  Comments are due by October 1 and documents and maps can be found here.

East Shore Trail - Rocky Mountain National Park. The park service is considering opening a 2-mile segment of the East Shore Trail, along Shadow Mountain Lake near the town of Grand Lake, to mountain bikes as well as making some changes to the trail's existing alignment to protect wetlands.  The park service was directed by the legislation creating wilderness in the park in 2009 to consider these changes.  Potential for user conflicts, transportation needs and any potential for resource damage to the park are the main concerns. Comments are due by September 21 and documents and maps can be found here.

BLM White River Field Office - Plan Amendment.  The BLM is accepting comments on a major  plan to facilitate a drilling up to  20,000 new natural gas wells near Meeker.  One of the important factors the BLM is considering is impacts to 230,000 acres of lands that potentially possess wilderness qualities.  This remote part of the state contains few people, but many opportunities for solitude and primitive recreation in the Roan Cliffs, Bookcliffs and along the White River.  The 90-day comment period on this draft plan extends until December 14.  The EIS can be found at the BLM website.  More information at http://www.whiterivercountry.com/.

Backcountry Bash 2012
20th Anniversary Backcountry Bash
Tickets Now On Sale!   

Hosted by Pro Backcountry Skier Donny Roth
Saturday, November 3
Backcountry Bash tickets are on sale! This year’s Bash will be held Saturday, November 3rd. Hosted by pro backcountry skier Donny Roth, the Bash will feature beer by Avery Brewing Company, food by Chipotle Mexican Grill, a great lineup of ski films, and an incredible auction of gear and hut trips. Visit www.cmc.org/Bash for more info and to buy tickets!

Last Volunteer Projects of the Season!

Ophir Fen Restoration
The Colorado Mountain Club will work with Mountain Studies Institute, San Juan Citizens Alliance, USFS, and Durango Mountain Resorts to restore wetlands disturbed during historic mining activities. Planting and erosion control. Stay at the OPUS hut!
Beaver Brook Trail Maintenance
Did you know that both CMC and Denver Mountain Parks are celebrating their Centennials in 2012? Join the CMC and Denver Mountain Parks to work on maintaining this awesome Front Range trail overlooking Clear Creek Canyon. Lunch provided!

Sand Wash Basin Restoration
CMC returns to Moffat County to celebrate National Public Lands Day with the Bureau of Land Management and a local equestrian club. Assist with trail work and clean up of Sand Wash. Sand Wash Basin is surrounded by ridges and mesas and is home to a herd of wild horses. Car camping.

Ophir Fen2012 Stewardship Season Highlights

Photos: Want to know what we've been up to all season? Check out the CMC Flickr for photos from each of

our projects.

Story: Read one volunteer's story about his experience on the North Maroon Trail Project. We were fortunate to join Colorado Fourteeners Initiative for a few days. Read more about their 10 week project on one of Colorado's most famous 14ers.

Genessee Mountain Park Master Plan
Public Meeting
September 27, Denver

Denver Parks and Recreation will host a second public meeting to obtain public input on the future of Genesee Park on September 27 from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m. at the Barnum Recreation Center, 360 Hooker St. Denver, CO. See attached flyer.  Please join us for a short presentation followed by an open house with concept plans and park staff on hand to receive your input. If you are unable to attend please fill out this short survey about the project:  http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07e66yrp71h54c7luy/start

Conservation News Roundup:
  • Forest Service cracks down on OHV & snowmobile rentals. Read more
  • White River National Forest approves Peak 6 expansion at Breckenridge. Read more
  • Oil and gas development coming to South Park? Read more
  • Vail founding father, Dr. Tom Steinberg, supports new wilderness.  Read more
  • NPR runs a five-part series on western wildfires and forest health. Listen here
  • Wolf Creek Village land trade approved by Rio Grande National Forest. Read more

Rep. Diana DeGette Town Hall
September 24

For those of us living in Denver and Aurora, Rep. DeGette invites CMC members and other constituents in Colorado's 1st District to a Town Hall that will focus on Hydraulic Fracturing on Monday, September 24, 2012 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM at the Evie Dennis Campus at 4800 Telluride St., Denver, CO. The meeting will be at West Commons lunch room and will begin promptly at 7:00 PM. Please RSVP at 303-844-4988 orDeGette.RSVP@mail.house.gov.