Bill to preserve 400,000 acres in Colorado would be biggest deal in 25 years

An ambitious effort to preserve mountain wilderness and historic landscapes in Colorado will launch April 8, 2019 with the introduction of a bill in Congress that aims to protect 400,000 acres of public lands in the state. It would pay special homage to Camp Hale, home to the historic 10th Mountain Division.

The bill — dubbed the Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy Act — is spearheaded by U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, both Democrats.

“Public lands are really who we are in Colorado,” Neguse, who was recently elected to represent the 2nd Congressional District, told reporters on a conference call Friday. “We will be pushing hard in the 116th Congress to get this bill across the finish line.”

The bill, which goes by the shorthand CORE, is combination of four pieces of legislation that have been introduced over the past decade to preserve land along the Continental Divide in the White River National Forest, designate iconic peaks in the San Juan Mountains as wilderness, withdraw 200,000 acres from oil and gas leases on the Thompson Divide near Carbondale, and fix permanent boundaries around Curecanti National Recreation Area near Gunnison.

Bennet said the last time so much acreage was set aside for protection in Colorado was in 1993, when the Colorado Wilderness Act was passed by Congress.

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