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December 26, 2007

Dave Bard, 202.486.4426

Statement from Robert C. Vandermark, Director, Heritage Forests Campaign

On the Bush Administration's Plan to Remove Protections for Colorado's Roadless Areas

WASHINGTON The Bush administration today announced its intention to remove current protections for roadless areas in Colorado's national forests. Colorado's roadless areas are the wild heart of the southern Rockies. Under the administration's proposal, many of these natural landscapes could be lost to logging, mining and oil and gas exploration.

"The Bush administration is continuing its state-by-state campaign to unravel critical protections for our nation's last pristine forests. First it was Alaska. Last week it was Idaho. Today, it's Colorado.

"It's déjà vu all over again. Just one week ago, the Bush administration made almost the same exact announcement for roadless areas in Idaho. The administration wants to open the doors to big, corporate special interests one state at a time. If this proposal goes through, the administration will have made the next step in its plans to completely undo the federal rule that protects these natural treasures.

"If the administration gets its way, fabled places like Grizzly Creek Gulch and Barr Trail could soon be spoiled by logging, mining and other development. Coloradans and the American public can't afford to let that happen, because once they're gone, they're gone forever."



Roadless areas in Colorado make up 30% of the state's national forests and serve as habitats for fish and wildlife, sources for clean drinking water, and as a source of recreation, to Coloradans and visitors from throughout the country.

The Bush administration's proposal for Roadless areas in Colorado would:

  • Open some roadless areas to be leased for ski area expansion, coal mining, and in specific areas where the state already owns mineral rights in order to mine these areas;
  • Allow oil and gas drilling companies to build roads, pipelines and other industrial projects in roadless areas;
  • Allow new roads to be built for ranchers to access their grazing livestock, and
  • Loosen restrictions on logging in roadless areas.

Publication of the Notice of Intent (NOI) in the Federal Register will be followed by a 60-day public comment period. For more information, go to https://ourforests.org/CO/ and http://roadless.fs.fed.us.

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