A second chance for roadless areas: Task force holds local hearing Friday

In spite of a recent move by the Bush Administration that stripped roadless area protection, a Colorado task force has been appointed to protect some of the state’s most pristine areas. That group will hosts its only local meeting this Friday.

Coloradans have been offered a unique opportunity to control the future of their roadless areas. Gov. Bill Owens and leaders of the Colorado Legislature appointed the Roadless Area Review Task Force earlier this year. The group’s first task will be to gather input from the public on how best to manage Colorado’s roadless areas.

“I think we’re very lucky in Colorado that this group and this process have been created,” said Amber Clark, public lands coordinator with the San Juan Citizens Alliance. “Here we do have an opportunity to stand up and say we do want our roadless areas to remain roadless.”

The task force, which includes local representatives David Peterson and Tom Compton, is meeting to gather input from local citizens. This week, the Roadless Area Review Task Force is coming to Tamarron. Clark stressed that this is the one-and-only opportunity for local residents to com

ment on roadless area protection.

“This is the only hearing that’s going to be held for the San Juan National Forest,” she said. “Comments can also be sent in electronically or by mail, but we’re recommending that people make it to the hearing and also send comments to ensure that they end up on the record.”

The Roadless Area Review Task Force is a bipartisan 13-member group and it will accept public comments on Fri., Dec. 9, from 5-8:30 p.m. at Tamarron, 15 miles north of Durango. Comments can be submitted electronically at www.dnr.state.co.us or mailed to: The Keystone Center, Attn: Roadless Areas Review, 1628 St. John Road, Keystone, CO 80435.

– Will Sands