@SenatorBennet and @RepJoeNeguse introduce the CORE act to promote and protect #publiclands

Here’s the release from Senator Bennet’s office:

On Friday, U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) and U.S. Representative Joe Neguse (D-CO-2) attended the Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show, where they toured the floor, met with Outdoor Industry Association’s recreation advisory council, and convened stakeholders from across the state to celebrate the introduction of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act. At the event, the Outdoor Industry Association announced its official endorsement of the legislation.

“Outdoor Industry Association is one hundred percent in support of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act because it would protect nearly half a million acres of public lands across Colorado and support the state’s $28 billion outdoor recreation economy while honoring its history in protecting Camp Hale, the origin of the 10th mountain division during WWII,” said Amy Roberts, Executive Director of Outdoor Industry Association. “We cannot be prouder of Senator Michael Bennet and our own congressman, Congressman Joe Neguse, for their leadership in supporting this legislation. We hope it gets done soon!”

“The name of the bill says it all: We don’t have to choose between protecting public lands and boosting the economy,” said Bennet. “Coloradans reject that idea. We believe protecting the places we love drives economic growth. Congressman Neguse and I are grateful for the diligence and compromise of communities across Colorado that created this legislation over the last ten years. It’s a testament to their work that the Outdoor Retailer show takes place in Colorado and that the Outdoor Industry Association now supports the CORE Act.”

“Outdoor recreation in Colorado employs over 500,000 workers and brings in $10 billion in wages for our state’s economy,” said Neguse. “When we invest in our public lands, we invest in our economy and the health and well-being of people and outdoor recreation across our state. I’m grateful for the support of many outdoor businesses for championing the CORE Act and enabling us to stand up for the public lands that make us who we are as Coloradans.”

The CORE Act protects approximately 400,000 acres of public land in Colorado, establishing new wilderness areas and safeguarding existing outdoor recreation opportunities to boost the economy for future generations. Of the land protected, about 73,000 acres are new wilderness areas, and nearly 80,000 acres are new recreation and conservation management areas that preserve existing outdoor uses, such as hiking and mountain biking. The bill also includes a first-of-its-kind National Historic Landscape to honor Colorado’s military legacy and prohibits new oil and gas development in areas important to ranchers and sportsmen.

More information is available at http://www.bennet.senate.gov/COREAct.

From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Joel L. Evans):

While the CORE Act itself is new, it draws from four previously introduced bills going back years and relating specifically to the Continental Divide and Camp Hale, the San Juan Mountains, the Thompson Divide, and the Curecanti National Recreation Area.

Recreation groups, sportsmen, conservationists, governments, businesses, landowners, and other interested parties have worked together to discuss the issues and craft the language of the bill.

Packaged together as one bill, Sen. Bennet and Congressman Neguse summarized the four proposals in this way:

The Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness, and Camp Hale Legacy Act, which establishes permanent protections for nearly 100,000 acres of wilderness, recreation, and conservation areas in the White River National Forest along Colorado’s Continental Divide. It also designates the first-ever National Historic Landscape around Camp Hale to preserve and promote the 10th Mountain Division’s storied legacy.

The San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act provides permanent protections for nearly 61,000 acres of land located in the heart of the San Juan Mountains in Southwest Colorado. It designates some of the state’s most iconic peaks as wilderness, including two 14ers: Mount Sneffels and Wilson Peak.

The Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act protects the Thompson Divide—one of Colorado’s most treasured landscapes — by withdrawing approximately 200,000 acres from future oil and gas development, while preserving existing private property rights for leaseholders and landowners. It also creates a program to lease excess methane from nearby coal mines, supporting the local economy and addressing climate change.

The Curecanti National Recreation Area (NRA) Boundary Establishment Act formally establishes the boundary for the Curecanti NRA. Although created in 1965, the boundary has never been designated by Congress, limiting the ability of the National Park Service to effectively manage the area. The bill improves coordination among land management agencies and ensures the Bureau of Reclamation upholds its commitment to expand public fishing access in the basin…

According to the bill’s sponsors “the bill permanently withdraws around 200,000 acres in the Thompson Divide near Carbondale and Glenwood Springs from future oil and gas development, while preserving existing private property rights for leaseholders and landowners” and “creates a program to lease and generate energy from excess methane in existing or abandoned coal mines in the North Fork Valley — supporting the local economy and addressing climate change”.

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