A Vote to Protect Wildlife, Public Lands and Colorado’s Outdoor Recreation Economy

 DENVER, CO  — Today’s vote by the U.S. House of Representatives in support of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act (or CORE Act) is a victory for wildlife, public lands, outdoor recreationists and local communities across Colorado. The bill preserves 400,000 acres of public land in Colorado, including more than 70,000 acres of expanded wilderness.  It would also designate nearly 30,000 acres surrounding Camp Hale -- where the Army’s 10th Mountain Division trained during World War II-- as the country’s first National Historic Landscape.

“This bill is the result of local communities coming together to protect the places they love,” said Aaron Kindle, senior manager for western sporting campaigns at the National Wildlife Federation. “For hunters and anglers, this bill honors our traditions and protects some of the finest fish and game habitat remaining in Colorado. I can personally attest that places like the Thompson Divide are world class landscapes with abundant fish and wildlife values. These places are too special not to protect and I’m glad we’re finally getting close to that reality.” 

“Representative Joe Neguse and Senator Michael Bennet are to be commended for championing a bill that is truly a reflection of what Coloradans want,” said Suzanne O’Neill, executive director of the Colorado Wildlife Federation.  “Creating new conservation management areas, recognizing the historical significance of Camp Hale and prohibiting future oil and gas development in the Thompson Divide are initiatives that local communities have long pursued.”

Among other things, the legislation would:

  •  Create three new wilderness areas in the Tenmile Range west of Breckenridge, Hoosier Ridge south of Breckenridge, and Williams Fork Mountains north of Silverthorne. 
  •  Designate Camp Hale, where Army troops trained in skiing and mountaineering during World War II, as the first ever National Historic Landscape.
  •  Create new wilderness areas and expand others in the San Juan Mountains.
  •  Prohibit future oil and gas development on 200,000 acres in the Thompson Divide near Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, while preserving existing property rights.
  •  Formally establish the boundaries of the Curecanti National Recreation Area, which includes three reservoirs on the Gunnison River. 

Colorado’s public lands fuel a $62 billion outdoor recreation industry which supports more than 500,000 jobs.  A public opinion survey released last week showed that two-thirds of voters in western Colorado want more public lands designated as wilderness and an overwhelming majority believe public lands help the state’s economy.   

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