Letter to the editor: Urge Sen. Cory Gardner to support CORE Act | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: Urge Sen. Cory Gardner to support CORE Act

Bill Betz
Eagle Summit Wilderness Alliance chair

Thank you Rep. Joe Neguse and Sen. Michael Bennet for the CORE Act, which 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 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 U.S. 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. We need more capacity. The CORE Act offers exactly that, with its promise of three new wildernesses areas and additions to two others on the White River National Forest in Summit and Eagle counties. It’s a straightforward solution, shaped by a vast coalition of stakeholders. Mountain bikers will retain 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 for a variety of public lands are supported by majorities of local residents and by the county commissions in every county directly affected by the bill.

Now, the fate of this bill depends on Sen. Cory Gardner, who so far is the only Colorado senator ever to not support new wilderness for Colorado. Contact Gardner at 202-224-5941 and urge him to support this bill in the U.S. Senate.

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