Kinkennon: A recreation management area is right for our community, wilderness |

Kinkennon: A recreation management area is right for our community, wilderness

A recreation management area is right for our community, wilderness

I’m a fan of anything that preserves our amazing local wilderness and recreational access to it. So I was thrilled to learn that Rep. Jared Polis has been circulating language for a potential bill he might introduce to the U.S. Congress that calls for new wilderness protections in Summit County. Our community’s wild places are the driver of our economy, our source of quality of life and the key to our local identity.

The Tenmile Recreation Management Area (RMA) that Polis is exploring would ensure our wilderness, both where we hike and ride on trails and the places that are fully untouched, remains as it is while balancing many important needs.

The RMA idea seems to me like a wonderful, flexible kind of designation for protecting wilderness, one that includes giving local firefighters all the latitude they need to do their critical safeguarding work. And while some might wonder if the RMA idea represents some sort of heavy-handed federal control, I think it’s just the opposite.

Such a protection seems intentionally flexible for our local needs and very much consistent with our local values. We love our wilderness and want to prevent future forest-management decisions that could compromise its beauty and integrity, but we also want to keep ourselves independent from rigid federal rules. What’s right for our community are wilderness protections that honor and nurture our rich, respectful, responsible relationship with the landscape around us.

For similar reasons, it’s also my hope that written into law could be pathways to greater collaboration among all the various entities that have jurisdiction over our nearby recreation and wilderness areas. Imagine what could be possible for our quality of life and our outdoor-recreation economy if management of our wild places was shaped by a larger conversation.

As a passionate local mountain biker and committed conservationist, I thank Polis for his vision for the Tenmile Recreation Management Area. It represents a brilliant balance of Summit County’s recreation, conservation and economic needs. Everybody wins.

Shane Kinkennon


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