I had the great privilege last week of traveling to Washington D.C. to meet with Colorado congressional staffers and express my ardent support for the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act. If you’ve been following this piece of legislation, you know it includes protections for landscapes in Ouray, San Juan and San Miguel counties, formerly known as the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act. You, hopefully, also know that the CORE Act passed the U.S. House Oct. 31 with bipartisan support! Thank you, Representative Joe Neguse for championing this bill and representatives Jason Crow, Diana DeGette and Ed Perlmutter for your co-sponsorship.
Diverse stakeholders, including elected officials, business owners, ranchers, recreation user groups and conservation organizations, support the CORE Act in all the counties impacted by this legislation. As the bill proceeds to the Senate, we applaud Senator Michael Bennet for his leadership and urge Senator Cory Gardner to co-sponsor the CORE Act to pass this comprehensive public lands bill in the 116th Congress.
I appreciate the local media covering the CORE Act and want to clarify that grazing is permitted in Congressionally designated wilderness. As you may have read in a recent letter to the editor, one of Ridgway’s ranchers, Liza Clarke, who supports the CORE Act, holds a grazing permit within the Whitehouse Addition to the Mount Sneffels Wilderness, which is included in the CORE Act and is an iconic landscape in Ouray County.
The CORE Act also encompasses lands along the Continental Divide in Summit and Grand counties, the Thompson Divide Mineral Withdrawal, and the Curecanti National Recreation Area. As I write this letter on Veterans Day, it seems fitting to mention that the CORE Act honors our servicemen and women and the 10th Mountain Division soldiers by designating Camp Hale as the nation’s first ever National Historic Landscape.
I urge you to write to or call Senator Gardner and ask him to co-sponsor the CORE Act. Please also visit coreact.org to learn more about the legislation and its widespread support. If you are a business owner, you can endorse the CORE Act on the website by completing a simple form. If you have questions, need additional information or want to sign a postcard in support of the CORE Act, email me (email@example.com). Together we can pass the CORE Act for present and future generations and for the intrinsic values of these wild places that we cherish and sustain our local economies.