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View Full Version : Dianna DeGette and Wilderness Bill **MUST READ**


nuclearlemon
09-12-2007, 07:55 PM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Kristofer Eisenla, 202.225.4431 (o) | 202.225.3041 (c)

Chris Arend, 303-844-4988 (o) | 303-908-7910 (c)

September 12, 2007

DeGette Introduces Colorado Wilderness Act of 2007

Proposal protects 62 Areas designating 1.65 million acres of Colorado public land as Wilderness

DENVER – As Colorado's remaining wild lands continue to be threatened by oil and gas drilling and encroaching development, Chief Deputy Whip Diana DeGette (D- CO) today reintroduced the Colorado Wilderness Act of 2007. Joining Rep. DeGette at her press conference was Tresi Houpt, Garfield County Commissioner and member of the State Oil and Gas Commission, David Getches, Dean of the University of Colorado School of Law, Paul D’Elia from Patagonia Denver, and representatives and citizens from the Colorado conservation community.

Below are U.S. Rep. DeGette’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

“I am proud to be before you today to announce the reintroduction of the Colorado Wilderness Act of 2007. Since 1999 I have had the privilege of introducing legislation to protect wilderness quality public land across Colorado. However, since that time, our state has seen many of our states special places and wilderness areas put under pressure and in threat of being lost forever.

“That is why I am proud to announce my intention today to reintroduce an updated, revamped, and sweeping proposal to protect 62 separate areas across Colorado making up nearly 1.65 million acres of Coloradans’ public land as wilderness.

“I am pleased to be here with many advocates of wilderness in Colorado, including Garfield County Commissioner Tresi Houpt, David Getches, Dean of the University of Colorado School of Law and Raphael J. Moses Professor of Natural Resources Law, Paul D’Elia of the Patagonia Corporation, as well as a number of conservation groups from across Colorado under the umbrella of the Colorado Wilderness Network, who for years have been the backbone and on the frontlines of defending wilderness in Colorado. Thank you for joining me today.

“We are gathered here to put protecting our public land literally back on the map. Colorado’s tremendous beauty and landscapes are always in the forefront of every Coloradan. It comes as no surprise then that in a recent poll 70 % of Coloradans supported more wilderness and wildlands in Colorado. Indeed Democrats, Republicans, Western Slope and Front Range residents alike support protecting our public lands.

“The poll showed that Coloradans support balance in our public lands management but we also want to protect the special areas of this State. Most of all, we want to leave what is special about Colorado for future generations.

“Colorado and our wilderness are at crossroads. In the last 7 years our State’s public lands have faced an onslaught like it has never seen from the Bush Administration, particularly on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Over 85,000 acres of wilderness quality public lands have already been leased for oil and gas drilling in Colorado and more are offered up every day.

“Drilling rigs, new roads, pipelines, more well pads, more noise, and more dust has tarnished our landscapes, impacted our communities, and disrupted sensitive wildlife.

“While there is room for energy development and leasing on our public lands, with over 80% of land available for oil and gas leasing, I think some of our most beautiful and sensitive areas should be off limits. This development is being allowed to encroach into our wildlands - removing from consideration many areas deserving of wilderness protection.

“I cannot stand by as a fourth generation Coloradan and let every last acre of our state be sold to the highest bidder in the latest lease sale.

“It is time to stand up for what makes Colorado special, for what brings thousands of tourists here year round providing consistent and long term benefits to our economy and communities. It is time to protect the sanctuaries our wildlife and endangered species depend on and to preserve for our children the Colorado we see and love today for future generations. It is time to protect the wild places of our state once and for all.

“I recognize the Colorado Wilderness Act is an ambitious proposal. However, it is my view that piece-mealing wilderness in this State, acre by acre, is a limited proposition and one which could delay the preservation of thousands of acres of public lands for an interminable amount of time.

“While individual areas may be easier to pass in the short term, the Colorado Wilderness Act in its totality is not as formidable as may seem - at 1.65 million acres the Colorado Wilderness Act makes up 1/8 of total Bureau of Land Management public land and only seven percent of total public land in our State. It consists of over 800,000 acres already managed by the BLM as wilderness study areas. Furthermore, the Colorado Wilderness Act of 2007 is a carefully researched proposal with its wilderness qualities and boundaries established using sophisticated geographic information systems and double checked on the ground by dedicated citizen volunteers.

“I also understand that wilderness and our public lands do not remain in an unchanging vacuum. I have made several changes to this legislation including adjusting boundaries for ongoing energy development and activities, but also adding several thousand acres of new areas which have been discovered and advocated by citizen volunteers since my original introduction in 1999.

“I am also happy to announce a significant compromise in this legislation. In Colorado we have a saying, “Whisky is for drinking and water is for fighting.” For too long the issue of water rights has been an unnecessary impediment to wilderness preservation in Colorado. In recognition of the importance of water and water rights in our state and in light of our recent drought and increased demands on water supplies, I have rewritten the water language in this bill to ensure the federal government plays by the State of Colorado’s water laws and regulations.

“Professor Getches will expound on this later. But this major change to my bill shows that I am committed to listening to all sides interested in public lands and wilderness issues in Colorado and open to reasonable changes and adjustments. As the wilderness debate moves forward, my promise to listen to all sides will stand and I look forward to an ongoing dialogue about wilderness in Colorado.

“Preserving wilderness in Colorado has always been hard - it brings a clash of interests and different philosophical views to a head. However, as President Kennedy, in our quest to land on the moon stated we choose to do such things “not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our skills and talents.”

“In our State’s history whenever we have chosen to preserve our limited special places, the process was always hard, but we rarely looked back in regret and often wondered why we did not do it sooner. More often then not it, establishing wilderness brought out the best in our leaders and the citizens of our great State.

“In closing I would like to leave you with a quote from one of the true wilderness leaders, former Senator Frank Church of Idaho who in talking about the Wilderness Act stated:

‘The great purpose is to set aside a reasonable part of the vanishing wilderness, to make certain that generations of Americans yet unborn will know what it is to experience life on undeveloped, unoccupied land in the same form and character as the Creator fashioned it... It is a great spiritual experience. I never knew a man who took a bedroll into an Idaho mountainside and slept there under a star-studded summer sky who felt self-important that next morning. Unless we preserve some opportunity for future generations to have the same experience, we shall have dishonored our trust.’

“It is my goal and for those standing with me today, to preserve a small part of Colorado to honor the trust of future generations and to let our children’s children experience the Colorado we love and cherish today.”

For maps and detailed descriptions of the Colorado Wilderness Act please link to: http://canyoncountrywilderness.org

Below are the areas that would be protected under U.S. Rep. DeGette’s Wilderness Act:



Proposed Wilderness Area Acreage

Adobe Badlands 10,742
Badger Creek 25,229
Bangs Canyon 21,110
Beaver Creek 38,378
Big Ridge 24,887
Bitter Creek 3,021
Black Mountain - Windy Gulch 22,439
Browns Canyon 20,025
Bull Canyon 16,781
Bull Gulch 15,155
Castle Peak 16,263
Cold Spring Mountain 50,536
Cow Ridge 15,721
Cross Canyon 25,947
Cross Mountain 18,057
Deep Creek 20,843
Demaree Canyon 25,881
Diamond Breaks 34,009
Dinosaur Additions 63,469
Dolores River Canyon 41,133
Dominguez Canyons 84,410
Dominguez North 12,449
Dragon Canyon 6,748
Flat Tops Addition 16,427
Grand Hogback 11,701
Granite Creek 14,089
Grape Creek 44,372
Handies Peak 72,397
Hunter Canyon 32,126
Kings Canyon 9,398
Little Bookcliffs 30,557
Mares Tail 4,809
Maroon Bells 316
Maverick 20,585
McIntyre Hills 17,318
McKenna Peak 33,467
Norwood Canyon 13,288
Oil Spring Mountain 25,005
Pinyon Ridge 20,903
Pisgah Mountain 15,679
Platte River Addn 33
Powderhorn Addition 3,306
Prairie Canyon 18,687
Redcloud Peak 38,594
Rio Grande 10,863
Roan Plateau 40,494
Roubideau 22,604
S Shale Ridge 27,569
Sagebrush Pillows 5,143
San Luis Hills 23,536
Sewemup Mesa 65,448
Skull Creek 30,735
Snaggletooth 32,050
Table Mountain 27,888
The Palisade 26,914
Thompson Creek 25,285
Troublesome 119,676
Unaweep 39,392
Vermillion Basin 86,569
Weber-Menefee Mountain 14,598
West Elk Addition 6,878
Yampa River 12,436

Totals 1,674,368

Beater
09-12-2007, 09:20 PM
I would be mindful that others read these areas, and that your preface is quite attacking.

However, there are some key passages, one of which is:


“Professor Getches will expound on this later. But this major change to my bill shows that I am committed to listening to all sides interested in public lands and wilderness issues in Colorado and open to reasonable changes and adjustments. As the wilderness debate moves forward, my promise to listen to all sides will stand and I look forward to an ongoing dialogue about wilderness in Colorado.

“Preserving wilderness in Colorado has always been hard - it brings a clash of interests and different philosophical views to a head. However, as President Kennedy, in our quest to land on the moon stated we choose to do such things “not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our skills and talents.”

I think, that this can be be a good thing. I am feverishly against oil and gas drilling on the lands, and have seen the wanton destruction it brings to communities. No offense, but the way these companies prospect reminds me of a virus.

Also, I found this to ring true as well:

‘The great purpose is to set aside a reasonable part of the vanishing wilderness, to make certain that generations of Americans yet unborn will know what it is to experience life on undeveloped, unoccupied land in the same form and character as the Creator fashioned it... It is a great spiritual experience. I never knew a man who took a bedroll into an Idaho mountainside and slept there under a star-studded summer sky who felt self-important that next morning. Unless we preserve some opportunity for future generations to have the same experience, we shall have dishonored our trust.’



I noticed that most of the areas are already wilderness. Although several appear to prevent easement by the feds, others are disturbing. Basically, this is a call to action, and I am hopeful that good will come out of this...

On of these areas by the way, Beaver Creek, I am hiking and fishing this weekend during a backpack trip. I can see no damage by that area, as I look at the map, being designated wilderness... especially since the map shows they leave the creek and those brookies "in bounds"

However, areas such as the flat tops addition, would remove several roads which are designated as access roads, and that bothers me...

Inukshuk
09-12-2007, 10:20 PM
Is the 4x4 community taking an organized approach to evaluating the proposal? Do we want our club to do the same?

FWIW, I know Dean Getches pretty well from my law school days. He is no radical and he really appreciates the divergent interests in our public land use.

Tch2fly
09-12-2007, 10:38 PM
Best thread title ever!!!!:thumb:


:rant: She has never done anything worthwhile PERIOD. I would consider moving into her district just for the pleasure of voting against her.:rant:

Disclaimer:
The preceeding opinion is expressed by the poster and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Rising Sun 4Wheel Drive Club of Colorado.

Shark Bait
09-13-2007, 12:07 AM
Is the 4x4 community taking an organized approach to evaluating the proposal? Do we want our club to do the same?



Daniel, are you volunteering? I think that part of the problem is that we in the 4 wheel drive community to not take the organized approach that the greenies do. I wonder if the state association has a comment on this proposal?

Beater
09-13-2007, 07:22 AM
FWIW,
I read the proposal, and looked at SOME of the maps... From what I could see, this is a shot over the bow, and could definitely be worked with. I think a reasonable approach would be to look at each map, and assess the loss of roads in that area. Just cause it's a jeep trail doesn't mean it's a road, and vice versa. I don't have the time to commit, but I do want to watch this issue.

I really think this is aimed at the oil and gas folks, not the recreational community.

j

Red_Chili
09-13-2007, 07:49 AM
I primarily agree. Consider the language: we have already made a splash, and been acknowledged as an important interest. We are being differentiated from the kind of wanton impact you can plainly see in the Parachute area and which would rather devastate the Roan Plateau. The problem is, the only bullet in the federal gun to prevent oil and gas development and major impact seems to be Wilderness designation.

The public reads Wilderness as wilderness, meaning, 'wild backcountry'. They typically don't 'get it' that this means no bicycles, no vehicular access of any kind, no mechanized search and rescue (except under extreme circumstances, meaning, never). Who could be against 'wilderness'? Education is needed for one thing, but more importantly: another designation that permits reasonable recreation and vehicular access and OHV use, but which protects the land and is well managed.

And while we are at it, how about FUNDING such management? Hmmm?? :rant:

nakman
09-13-2007, 09:52 AM
None of the links on the map word for me.. anyone else? http://canyoncountrywilderness.org/maps.htm

But at the onset I don't really see the problem with this. What would change my mind would be to see a map of an area that we use for recreation, or could potentially use for recreation, then a map of from this Colorado Wilderness Act that shows that we'd no longer be able to use it.

I do realize that "wilderness" means "no access" but if we can't already access those areas so what? I don't think anyone in the club wants to fight to create new roads, for oil or recreation.. isn't our common goal preserving access to the roads that already exist? So show me how this threatens that, if this is so evil as you say that should be an easy task.

Red_Chili
09-13-2007, 10:11 AM
I do realize that "wilderness" means "no access" but if we can't already access those areas so what? I don't think anyone in the club wants to fight to create new roads, for oil or recreation.. isn't our common goal preserving access to the roads that already exist? So show me how this threatens that, if this is so evil as you say that should be an easy task.
Your point is well made, but there's the rub: some of the areas proposed do indeed currently have access, and this bill would shut it off. I also AM fighting for new roads (primitive, 4x4 routes) where warranted, and we have enjoyed the addition of some new areas (Bangs Canyon, the Patriot Trail system, for examples). This is to counteract the loss of road and trail miles we are experiencing at a time when demand is increasing, which in turn increases per-mile trail impact on remaining routes. This will lead to further closures.

Another issue is making Wilderness out of areas that do not fully qualify, as a last ditch attempt to protect them from development. While the goal is laudable, it sets a very bad precedent for what qualifies.

But yeah, in areas that truly qualify, I for one do not oppose Wilderness designation. But we need something less than Wilderness designation that also prohibits commercial development.

Inukshuk
09-13-2007, 11:45 AM
Daniel, are you volunteering? I think that part of the problem is that we in the 4 wheel drive community to not take the organized approach that the greenies do. I wonder if the state association has a comment on this proposal?

Who has the time! I used to volunteer for everything and that was not working for me. I could evaluate 2-3 areas and I think others could too. We would want somone to coordinate. I'd also be curious to see what, if any, organized statewide 4x4 effort there was. After all that, I could present our opinion directly to Getches and I have good contacts with DeGette's people too.

Red_Chili
09-13-2007, 11:46 AM
COHVCO, UFWDA, and BRC will look at it, though Daniel, any input you could offer would be greatly valued!
Your contacts, and your negotiating skill and urbane demeanor would be of great value.

Romer
09-13-2007, 11:58 AM
Best thread title ever!!!!:thumb:


:rant: She has never done anything worthwhile PERIOD. I would consider moving into her district just for the pleasure of voting against her.:rant:

Disclaimer:
The preceeding opinion is expressed by the poster and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Rising Sun 4Wheel Drive Club of Colorado.

X2 and her predessesor wasn't any better

COHVCO, UFWDA, and BRC will look at it, though Daniel, any input you could offer would be greatly valued!
Your contacts, and your negotiating skill and urbane demeanor would be of great value.


You forgot to mention his studly looks and quick wit!

Red_Chili
09-13-2007, 12:55 PM
And trained attack Aussie herding dogs snarling in the background in case someone gives him grief...

Red_Chili
09-19-2007, 11:42 AM
Cross posting from CO 4x4, assembling information:
FYI, Dolores River Canyon includes an absoilutely spectacular Jeep road (10 rd & 14 F rd) that follows the river about 20 miles from just south of Dove Creek to Hwy 141. Includes numerous challenging spots, river crossings and annual changes in obstacles from runoff. This will all be lost under the De Gette bill.

Jeepers in the Dove Creek & Cortez area have travelled the road for years, and it is an access road for numerous mine claims & historical sites. Local Public Lands Center officals (joint USFS / BLM) were surprised to find out the Creeper Jeepers were traveling the road regularly and doing spot repairs re: rockslides, etc. BLM hadn't done anything to it in years and assumed it was impassable.

Here are a couple near Gateway that cut out a lot of fine wheeling.
The Proposed Palisade Wilderness (http://canyoncountrywilderness.org/maps/hires/palisade_0706.jpg) cuts out a lot of roads. One 4x4 trail leads from gateway to Grand Junction. I'd have to dig out the BLM map to be sure, so, IIRC, it goes over Sheep Mountain.
http://www.colorado4x4.org/vbb/attachment.php?attachmentid=7097&d=1190169268
Proposed Unaweep Wilderness (http://canyoncountrywilderness.org/maps/hires/unaweep_0706.jpg) borders Castrol Draw, Rim Trail, Uranium Road to Hwy 141. It cuts out Basin Jeep Trail, Snowshoe and Ute Creek Motorcycle trails among a bunch of others.
http://www.colorado4x4.org/vbb/attachment.php?attachmentid=7098&d=1190169268
Usually, when a WSA is proposed, they tend to close the bordering roads.

Take a look at the Camelback Wilderness Study Area west of Delta. In particular, the road that used to run along Potter Creek to show that roads get closed when it is only a WSA.

Here is the old map, notice the yellow public access 4x4 trail along Potter Ck. that used to run into the Uncomphradre NF.

[On] the new, current map. See the lack of trail along Potter Creek.
http://www.colorado4x4.org/vbb/attachment.php?attachmentid=7096&d=1190169268
The closure and lots of public comments took place in the eighties. Still, the road got closed, the greenies got their way and essentially shut off a big area so there is one way in and one way out. No more loop trails near Camelback.

It will be worse now. The current National Policy is geared toward cutting off motorized access to our public lands. http://www.colorado4x4.org/vbb/images/smilies/frown.gif

This is no trivial shot across the bow. Loss of more 4x4 route miles, in the guise of protecting wild lands from extraction.