Roadless Recommendations Detoured

Draft recommendations for roadless areas in Colorado will be delayed for about a month, according to Steve Smith, the Glenwood Springs representative on the Colorado Roadless Area Review Task Force. Smith said the group needed more time to work on proposals on how roadless land should be managed in the state.

The first deadline for completion was July 19, but now the group has moved the target date to August 15 in order to hash out its proposals to Governor Owens. All states were given 18 months by the Bush administration to determine how to manage their roadless areas.

Many environmental groups have protested replacing the Clinton era “Roadless Rule” with the Bush mandated state petition process. They claim it would do little to protect roadless areas from timber, oil, and mining interests.

Smith said that the Colorado task force got through half of the key issues and some suggested proposals, but there is still a debate on what roadless areas need to be preserved and what exceptions can be made.

There are 4.4 million acres of inventoried roadless areas in 14.5 million acres of forest service land in Colorado.