Yesterday, the United States Forest Service took a significant step forward in managing Colorado’s treasured roadless areas by releasing the final environmental impact statement, or FEIS, for the Colorado Roadless Rule.
Given the world class outdoor recreational resources at stake, mountain bikers, paddlers, climbers, backcountry skiers and hikers in Colorado and across the country were very pleased to see the FEIS increase the acreage in the upper tier management category, which now includes 1.2 million acres – double the amount in the previously proposed rule.
The substantial increase in the quantity of upper tier acreage goes a long way towards making the final rule as strong or stronger than the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which was upheld by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals six months ago. While some significant steps were taken to strengthen the protections afforded by the upper tier classification critically important issues remain that must be resolved before the rule is finalized. Among the outstanding issues of concern is the provision for linear construction zones in upper tier lands for the development of water projects. Outdoor Alliance will remain engaged and further analyze the rule to ensure that outstanding critical issues are resolved.
Whether paddling the Animas River, backcountry skiing at Berthoud Pass, bouldering at Independence Pass, or hiking and riding exquisite sections of the Colorado Trail, these world-class outdoor resources deserve world-class protection, conservation and stewardship. From Outdoor Alliance’s perspective, the FEIS takes the Colorado roadless rule in a promising and significant step in that direction.
To learn more about what’s at stake in Colorado, please watch our film.
For the Forest Service page on the Colorado Roadless Rule, please click here.