Letter: Tell Gardner to get on board with CORE Act | VailDaily.com

Letter: Tell Gardner to get on board with CORE Act

Thank you Rep. Joe Neguse and Sen. Michael Bennet for the bold and important CORE Act that will protect 400,000 acres of critical wilderness and wildlife habitat across Colorado.

For the past 25 years, the volunteers of Eagle Summit Wilderness Alliance (formerly Friends of Eagles Nest Wilderness) have observed firsthand the increase — now explosion — in visitors to our wilderness areas. Today, the pristine ecosystems that hikers expect to encounter are challenged as never before. Our mission is to help the Forest Service preserve and repair these treasures. Each year our trail and campsite crews rehab dozens of camps, clear hundreds of trees from trails, and combat invasive weeds. Our citizen rangers assist and educate more than 12,000 visitors on the trails.

Stopgap measures such as encouraging alternative trail choices and mandatory permitting are not enough. The public cries out for more capacity. The CORE Act offers exactly that, with its promise of three new wilderness areas and additions to two others on the White River National Forest in Summit and Eagle Counties.

It is a straightforward solution, shaped over the years by a vast coalition of stakeholders. Mountain bikers will maintain access to 17,000 acres in the Tenmile Range. Wildlife will get new conservation areas. Colorado history will be preserved in the Camp Hale National Historic Landscape without changing current recreation access. Across the state, new protections of a variety of public lands are supported by the majority of local residents and by the county commissions in every county directly affected by the bill. 

Now, the fate of this important bill depends on Sen. Cory Gardner, who so far is the only Colorado senator in the 55-year history of the Wilderness Act of 1964 to not support new wilderness designations for our state. Contact Sen. Gardner today at (202) 224-5941 and strongly urge him to get on board and actively help lead this bill to success in the U.S. Senate.

Bill Betz, Chair, Eagle Summit Wilderness Alliance