Outdoor Alliance Applauds Colorado Governor Ritter’s Decision to Request More Time to Do a Proper Job on the Colorado Roadless Rule

DENVER, Dec. 5 /PRNewswire/ — Earlier today Governor Ritter announced
that the State of Colorado secured a vital delay that prevents the Forest
Service’s rush to implement a new management plan for the state’s pristine
backcountry roadless areas. These landscapes represent some of the most
outstanding recreational assets of the intermountain West attracting visitors
from around the world. These visitors contribute an estimated $10 billion to
the state’s economy and provide jobs for over 100,000 residents of the state.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080115/NETU092LOGO )

This past fall, thousands of citizens, who value the experience these
incredible backcountry areas provide, flooded the U.S. Forest Service with
public comments against rushed implementation of an unbalanced plan for the
management of these areas that would have undermined protections currently in
place with the 2001 Roadless Rule.

Governor Ritter has pledged to conserve Colorado’s 4.4 million acres of
national forest backcountry and petitioned the federal government to develop
the plan for management of these lands. Instead of developing a plan that
would have truly protected these areas, the federal government attempted to
hastily complete a rulemaking in the waning days of the current Administration
that would make undeveloped backcountry areas vulnerable to new development
and degrade some of the state’s most highly valued lands for outdoor
recreation.

Earlier this year we asked for the Governor’s support in slowing down this
process to provide all stakeholders with the necessary time to evaluate the
consequences of proposed federal actions. In Outdoor Alliance’s evaluation of
the proposed rule we specifically requested that preserving roadless
characteristics be the express mandate of any new rule, qualitative and
quantitative value of outdoor recreation be directly factored into the rule,
any changes to roadless areas involve robust public participation, a cradle to
grave approach to roads that assures ecosystem protection, and a more
conservative approach towards creation of any new roads.

“These wild areas provide unmatched hiking, climbing, biking, skiing,
paddling and other recreational opportunities for millions of Americans.”
notes Nathan Fey Colorado Stewardship Director for American Whitewater.
“Attempts to open pristine backcountry to industrial development underscore
the need for reliable, nationally consistent protections for all of America’s
last roadless areas. These national forests are an important part of the
state’s heritage and way of life.”

About Outdoor Alliance: Outdoor Alliance is a coalition of six national,
member-based organizations devoted to conservation and stewardship of our
nation’s public lands and waters through responsible human-powered outdoor
recreation. Member organizations of the Outdoor Alliance include Access Fund,
American Canoe Association, American Hiking Society, American Whitewater,
International Mountain Bicycling Association and Winter Wildlands Alliance. We
represent the interests of the millions Americans who hike, paddle, climb,
mountain bike, ski and snowshoe on our nations public lands and waters. Both
Access Fund and International Mountain Bicycling Association are headquartered
in Colorado.


    Contact:  Thomas O'Keefe, PhD
              425-417-9012
              roadless@outdooralliance.net

[Via http://www.prnewswire.com]

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