Roadless Area Review Task Force was composed of individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, including state and local elected officials, representatives from the ski industry, and the ranching, water law, forest management and environmental communities. Thousands of Coloradans weighed in with their views, and countless stakeholder groups worked together to find common ground.
The state and the U.S. Forest Service ultimately produced a rule that protects 4.2 million acres of Colorado backcountry from development while allowing some limited flexibility based on legitimate needs. Exceptions were allowed to address forest-fire threats and insect infestations near certain communities, to accommodate ski area management, to continue underground coal production in the North Fork coal mining area, to access and maintain water and utility corridors, to control and clean up pollution, and to develop oil and gas on pre-existing leases. Coloradans can and should be proud of this process; hard work, compromise and a dedication to transparency produced a compromise in which almost no party got everything it wanted, but nearly all have agreed is fair. I believe this collaborative work deserves recognition.
Delays in the adoption of a Colorado Roadless Rule have led to confusion and uncertainty and I urge its approval as soon as possible. I appreciate your consideration and look forward to finally having a rule in place that provides certainty to land managers, small businesses and the public.