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Support Browns Canyon National Monument and Wilderness Now!
Send your comments on the final draft
Go to http://www.markudall.senate.gov/?p=form&id=51 to review Senator Mark Udall’s legislation and send him your comments. Senator Udall is still reviewing public input, but the time is short! The proposed Monument of 22,000 acres would continue most current uses and designate 10,500 acres as Wilderness. In general the conservation community supports this legislation, but citizens should emphasize these points:
Maintain the full 22,000 acres as proposed in the draft bill
Include the full complement of Wilderness at 20,000 acres as proposed by local, state and national conservation groups.
Close the Turret Trail to motorized use at Green Gulch
Browns Canyon will provide suburb backcountry recreation with opportunities for solitude and challenge, a premier white water rafting run, excellent wildlife habitat and an economic benefit to local outfitters and other businesses. Now is the time to move forward, and Senator Udall is committed to this legislation. Support his effort and this future Monument. Even if you've commented before, Senator Udall is interested in your views.
Comment on Oil and Gas Leasing Analysis for the Pike-San Isabel National Forest & Comanche-Cimarron National Grasslands(PSICC) New deadline is Sunday June 30th
The PSICC is asking for public comments on its Oil and Gas Leasing Availability Analysis Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The EIS analyzes the effects of potential future oil and gas development and focuses on surface disturbing activities across the National Forest and Grasslands in our region.
While current leases are found primarily in the Cimarron Grasslands in Kansas, there are existing leases along the Rampart Range, and most of the PSICC is potentially available for leasing, albeit with suggested seasonal or No Surface Occupancy (NSO) stipulations. The current agency Preferred Alternative automatically excludes Wildernesses from leasing and includes some degree of protection for roadless areas, but not enough.
There are leases on the Rampart Range Roadless Area. Photo Grover Cleveland
Lesser prairie chickens cannot tolerate oil and gas activities. Photo Colorado State Parks and Wildlife
BLM Mapping Project is underway
Wild Connections is taking advantage of BLM's inventorying and assessing lands with wilderness characteristics (LWCs) to expand Central Colorado’s “wildlands” network. This is very important because it allows for qualified BLM land - often lower altitude and overlooked - to be designated as wilderness and thus given more protection in their upcoming land management plans.
After surveying BLM lands, Wild Connections will submit reports identifying land to be preserved as wilderness, in an attempt to expand habitat corridors for Colorado plants and animals.
We have identified several priority roadless areas in the BLM’s Royal Gorge region that may qualify for LWCs: Cooper Mountain, Beaver Creek, Table Mountain, Badger Creek, Grape Creek, McIntyre Hills, Browns Canyon, Blanca Peak and Slide Mountain, and Thirty-one Mile Mountain, all of which house important species habitats. We also need to correct outdated information, including discrepancies on the use of existing or closed roads.
Priority Areas. Click to enlarge map.
Mapper training. Photo Jim Lockhart
Wild Connections has trained more than 20 volunteer mappers, with future trainings on the horizon. We also signed up four volunteer mapping interns for the summer from Front Range universities to map BLM lands for wilderness characteristics and provide reports of their findings. The BLM provides much guidance on how to assess lands for wilderness characteristics. Firstly, the area must be of sufficient size (minimum 5,000 acres) or contiguous with other federal land managed for wilderness characteristics. The area must also be roadless to be considered wilderness, though certain routes and trails are deemed acceptable by the BLM. The wilderness characteristics that the land or portions of the land must possess are defined for Naturalness, Outstanding Opportunity for Solitude, Outstanding Opportunity for Recreation (primitive or unconfined) and Supplemental Values.