The last time we sent an alert on the "Roadless" issue in Colorado, we explained that the Colorado legislature had directed a Task Force to conduct a statewide process to develop recommendations for managing Colorado's 4.2 million acres of "Roadless" lands.
To the State's great credit, and also because you and tens of thousands of other OHV users who attended meetings and sent comments, that process resulted in common-sense and rational management guidelines for these prized recreation lands.
Sadly, the Wilderness lobby in Washington D.C. has convinced Governor Bill Ritter to ask for changes to those recommendations.
Governor Ritter has asked the Colorado Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to consider new proposals pushed by Washington D.C.-based Wilderness activists. The DNR is allowing only the legal minimum of 60 days for public comment on these changes.
We desperately need as many comments as possible opposing these changes. We also need calls to Governor Ritter's office. We've tried to make it as easy as it can be for you to help. Instructions for commenting via email along with Governor Ritter's phone number and calling instructions are listed below.
Remember, the deadline is this Saturday (October 3), so please read the Action Alert below and take action today!
For those of you who already know the details, please feel free to skip down to "BRC's 3-Step Action Item" below. We've taken the time to put together a few talking points to make it as easy as possible.
And speaking of details, there is a lot of interesting information on BRC's Colorado Roadless webpage: COLORADO ROADLESS - BRC Land Use Update
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact BRC.
Thanks in advance for your support,
Brian Hawthorne Ric Foster
Public Lands Policy Director Public Lands Department Manager
208-237-1008 ext 102 208-237-1008 ext 107
BLUERIBBON COALITION ACTION ALERT!
PRIORITY LEVEL: CRITICAL
COLORADO ROADLESS COMMENTS NEEDED - DEADLINE OCTOBER 3, 2009
New regulations formulated during the Bush Administration allow each State to help formulate management rules for the Inventoried Roadless Areas on National Forest lands within that state. Eager to put an end to the long-running controversy, as well as protect the public from insect outbreak and wildfire, Colorado's Legislature formed the Roadless Areas Review Task Force to make recommendations on how each Roadless Area in Colorado should be managed.
The Task Force spent over a year taking input from all kinds of interested people and organizations. Information regarding devastating wildfire, insect outbreak and concerns over the local economy was considered alongside concerns about protecting the lands. BRC and COHVCO made sure recreational uses were also considered. The Task Force made reasonable recommendations allowing new road building to occur only for the purpose of addressing the wildfire and insect problems.
Under then Governor Owen, Colorado submitted its recommendations to the U.S. Forest Service, which is currently in the middle of a "rulemaking" process. This is an open and public process the FS must use to adopt the recommendations.
After his election, and until very recently, Governor Ritter has supported Colorado's recommendations. Sadly, it seems pressure from the Washington D.C. Wilderness lobby was too much. Under normal circumstances, asking the FS to change course in the middle of any "rulemaking" process might be considered a futile effort. But these don't seem to be normal circumstances. The Forest Service has agreed to consider the changes and the Colorado Department of Natural Resources is only allowing 60 days for public comment.
WHY THIS IS SO IMPORTANT:
The agency is arguing that the changes proposed will have little impact to motorized and mountain bike trails in Roadless areas. That is yet to be seen, and we know from experience to carefully verify what they say. But more to the point is this: OHV people are often put in the position of relying on local "compromise" alternatives to some of these extreme environmentalist proposals. This is because the Wilderness lobby is very well funded and very powerful. The Colorado Roadless issue is a perfect example of one of these locally-generated compromise solutions that actually worked.
The Colorado Roadless compromise should be defended, and, frankly, it's an outrage that the Governor would go against what the people in his state recommended.
It is therefore absolutely essential that the people of Colorado insist everyone, especially the Governor, live up to their commitments on Colorado's Roadless rule.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:
Contact Governor Ritter's office at (303) 866-2471; below are some talking points you can use.
I want the Governor to know that I strongly oppose his decision to open up the Colorado Roadless process for potential changes.
Allowing last minute changes by powerful special interest groups is a slap in the face to the tens of thousands who provided detailed comment via the statewide planning process.
I want the Governor to know that I strongly support the Colorado-based solutions contained in the original Colorado Roadless petition.
Email your comments to the Colorado Department of Natural Resources at:
BRC'S THREE-STEP ACTION ITEM
STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO EMAIL YOUR COMMENTS:
NOTE: Please be polite and, if possible, make your comment letter as personal as you can.
STEP 1: Open your email program and start a draft email. Address the email to
. Put "Comments on Colorado Roadless Rule"
in the Subject Line.
STEP 2: Use the comments below as a guideline for comments in your email.
Cut and paste is okay, but try to make your comment letter as personal as possible.
STEP 3: Take just a minute to add a bit about where you live, where you like to ride
and how much trail-based recreation means to you. Be certain to include your
name and address. A return email address is NOT sufficient! ("anonymous" emails
are often discarded).
EXTRA CREDIT: If you can add any personal testimony about your experiences enjoying this spectacular area, please take a minute to add that to your email.
Then click "Send" and you're done!
Sample comment letter:
To: Roadless Rule Comments
Colorado Department of Natural Resources
1313 Sherman Street, Room 718
Denver, CO 80203
My family and I regularly visit "Roadless" areas throughout the state of Colorado. We enjoy various recreational uses, including Off-Highway Vehicle use, on the roads, trails and snowmobile areas within these lands.
I am writing regarding suggested changes to the Colorado Roadless rulemaking process. Please incorporate these comments into the official record:
1. I support the original Colorado Roadless petition.
2. I do not support any of the changes being proposed.
3. The Colorado Department of Natural Resources should support locally-based decision-making. The Colorado petition was a product of numerous public meetings and over 40,000 comments. Considering changes at this late date indicates wealthy special interests are attempting to improperly influence this process.
4. Resources in National Forests are important to our economy and our national security. Where appropriate, these resources should be developed. The original Colorado petition struck a good balance between use of the resources and protecting the forest.
5. The changes proposed will further reduce the agency's ability to stop "fatal" wildfires. Fuel loads are high enough to warrant limited road building for forest health and wildfire operations. The agency should reject any proposal to further restrict the ability to manage its forests.
6. It is important to point out that a "Roadless Area" was never meant to be a "stand-alone" management designation. Inventoried Roadless Areas (IRAs) are, in fact, the first step in the Wilderness inventory and review process that is mandated by agency regulations each time a National Forest revises its Forest Plan. Their boundaries are determined solely on the presence or absence of major, maintained roads. No consideration to geologic boundaries, management considerations, low-grade roads and recreational trails, or other resource uses are made when a National Forest determines Roadless Area boundaries.