Letter: CORE Act unites communities with longstanding support
It was great to meet with Rep. Joe Neguse at the Colorado SnowSports Museum this past week to discuss the CORE Act and the public lands and waters it would protect. While back in Colorado, he visited some of the areas the legislation would preserve and met with the various communities interested in the bill, including mountain bikers, like us.
This bill is the result of nearly a decade of community-level collaboration between elected officials and diverse stakeholders on four different pieces of legislation that together became the CORE Act. We want to thank all our current and past elected officials, including Congressman Neguse, Sen. Michael Bennet, and former Senators Mark Udall Ken Salazar, who continuously passed the torch so that our protected lands and waters would be here for future generations to enjoy.
As mountain bikers and trail users, we participated in that dialogue and attended dozens of meetings to make sure mountain biking assets and the recreation economy it supports were considered in the bill. We are happy to say they were, and because of this, we are able to stand with a wide range of stakeholders, including businesses, veterans, sportsmen, ranchers, other recreationalists, and water users that support the legislation.
Here in Vail Valley, the CORE Act protects both the current trails we all enjoy, and the future connections and enhancements we seek. In Summit County the 16,966-acre Tenmile Recreation Management Area would be created, protecting access to world-class outdoor recreation, such as mountain biking, hiking, and hunting. These recreation components are balanced with designating wildlife conservation areas that protect critical habitat and migration corridors, designating Camp Hale as our nation’s first National Historic Landscape, and creating new wilderness areas.
As representatives of the mountain biking and trail user community, we also think about the business side of conservation, as many of our members and supporters own gear shops, guiding services, and other outdoor-reliant businesses. Thankfully, the CORE Act would continue to stimulate our local economies by attracting people to hike, bike, snowmobile, camp, hunt, and fish on our protected public lands. But don’t just take our words for it: Colorado Parks and Wildlife found that in 2017, outdoor recreation contributed $62 billion to Colorado’s economy and $35 billion to the state’s GDP, while supporting 511,000 direct jobs.
We are fortunate to call Colorado home, where we have access to both breath-taking beautiful high altitude trails and the quiet solitude of nature. The continued population growth and the increased number of visitors, only drives the need for more mountains, valleys, and rivers to be preserved and maintained. We lose more of our public lands every day to development and energy production. If we want Colorado to continue to be a leader in public lands preservation, we need to pass the CORE Act.
We want to thank Rep. Neguse and Sen. Bennet for working with communities on this legislation and encourage Rep. Scott Tipton and Sen. Cory Gardner to join the effort in getting the CORE Act through Congress.
Ernest Saeger, Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance
Aaron Clark, International Mountain Bicycling Association