Sunday, April 07, 2019

Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy (CORE) Act gets day in Congress, supporters and opponents testify about act’s merits

Summit Daily

The Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy Act, a sweeping public lands bill focused on Colorado with significant provisions for Summit County, had its first hearing in Congress on Tuesday with the House Natural Resources Committee.
The bill, which combines four previously introduced public lands bills protecting 400,000 Colorado acres from development, is being pushed strongly by its primary sponsors, Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulder) in the House of Representatives and Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat, in the Senate.
Of the four original bills, the most significant for Summit is the Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness and Camp Hale Legacy Act. That bill would permanently protect 98,000 acres of the White River National Forest in Summit and Eagle counties, as well as designate Camp Hale, the historic birthplace of the 10th Mountain Division located near Leadville, and its surrounding vistas as the nation’s first National Historic Landscape. 
Neguse, who represents Summit and Eagle counties in Congress, told the Summit Daily that he made the CORE act a priority based on promises he made to constituents on the campaign trail, as well as to continue the legacy of his House predecessor, Gov. Jared Polis.
“It’s clear conversing with folks in Summit County, this is a bill they deeply support,” Neguse said. “It has been endorsed by every county commissioner, every mayor in Summit and a multitude of outdoor organizations.” 
Former Summit County Commissioner Dan Gibbs, who now serves in Gov. Polis’ cabinet as the head of the state’s department of natural resources, was invited by Neguse to testify to the committee in favor of the CORE act.
In his testimony, Gibbs emphasized that the CORE Act and its subsidiary bills were painstakingly negotiated with many different Colorado stakeholders over the past decade.
“I felt like there was a really great balance at bringing many different stakeholders — the firefighting community, the towns, the ski resorts, mountain biking and recreation user groups — to nonstop stakeholder meetings to figure out what is appropriate (in regard to wilderness boundary lines),” Gibbs testified to the committee.
However, some aspects of the bill are facing opposition, particularly from oil and gas interests and foresters, who believe it goes too far to limit economic development and forest management.
 Courtesy Summit Daily.