Letter to the editor: I hope to see Tipton support CORE Act
I was surprised to see that Rep. Scott Tipton introduced a new public lands and wilderness bill when there is already a broadly supported bill that is well on its way through Congress. While it’s nice to see him show some support for wilderness and protecting public lands, his efforts could be best put into passing the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act, known as the CORE Act, which already includes many of the public land protections his new bill proposes.
Like the CORE Act, Tipton’s “discussion draft” bill proposes protections for the San Juan Mountains and Curecanti National Recreation Area, and it also includes positive proposals to designate Wilderness in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, but it includes some very anti-conservation proposals like removing wild land protections for areas in Canyons of the Ancients National Monument and seeking to authorize logging in wilderness areas.
Tipton’s bill also doesn’t include important protections that are in the CORE Act, like protecting western Colorado’s Thompson Divide, where President Teddy Roosevelt went on a hunting expedition years ago and exclaimed the area a “great, wild country.” The Tipton legislation doesn’t protect important wildlife habitat along the Continental Divide or the legacy of Camp Hale, which would be designated as the nation’s first National Historic Landscape under the CORE Act to honor the service of the veterans who trained there before fighting overseas in World War II.
Local communities, like Summit County, have done the heavy lifting to draft the CORE Act legislation over the past decade. These areas are well vetted and ready to be passed into law. I hope to see Tipton take a bipartisan approach and work with Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. Joe Neguse to offer constructive suggestions and lend his support to the CORE Act to get it across the finish line.
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