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Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Rocky Mountain National Park to become Wilderness Area?

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It will if Reps. Jared Polis and Betsy Markey have anything to say about it.  Another early bill was announced yesterday.  Some of the details are as follows (from a press release):

Today, Representatives Betsy Markey (CO-4) and Jared Polis (CO-2) will introduce legislation to designate nearly 250,000 acres of Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) as wilderness.  In short, the Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness and Indian Peaks Wilderness Expansion Act will:

Ø Designate 249,339 acres in RMNP as wilderness;

Ø Guarantee that the backcountry of RMNP will be managed so that future generations will experience the park as we know it today

Ø Allow for the National Park Service to continue bark beetle and fire mitigation efforts as well as emergency response actions;

Ø Ensure wilderness designation will not affect water rights connected to the Colorado Big Thompson Project or the Grand River Ditch;

Ø Allow possible construction of a bike trail near Grand Lake.

I will try to keep track of the bill as it makes its way through Congress.  I think this is a good idea.  Wilderness areas are supposed to receive additional protections that National Parks don’t enjoy.  That didn’t stop the Bush administration from allowing unreasonable industrial access to them the past 8 years, but it’s a positive step for an iconic area.


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