First Regular Session

Sixty-second General Assembly

LLS NO. R99­0849.01 Pam Cybyske


BY REPRESENTATIVES Hoppe, Smith, Alexander, Berry, Clapp, Kester, Larson, McKay, Miller, Mitchell, Spradley, Taylor, Webster, T. Williams; also Senators Dennis, Anderson, Arnold, Chlouber, Dyer, Epps, Evans, Hillman, Musgrave, Teck, Wattenberg, Wham.





WHEREAS, H.R. 829, the "Colorado Wilderness Act of 1999", proposes to designate another approximately one million four hundred thousand acres of land in Colorado as wilderness prior to the revision of many of Colorado's forest plans, thereby usurping the United States Forest Service's land management review process and ignoring the original wilderness recommendations made to the United States Congress by the United States Bureau of Land Management ("BLM") that totaled four hundred thirty­one thousand acres; and

WHEREAS, H.R. 829 was drafted without input from either the general public or local elected officials and does away with local control over land management; and

WHEREAS, Federal lands in Colorado have been exhaustively studied for their wilderness suitability under the "Wilderness Act" of 1964, the Department of Agriculture's second roadless area review and evaluation (RARE II), the wilderness evaluation by the BLM, the "Colorado Wilderness Act of 1980", and the "Colorado Wilderness Act of 1993"; and

WHEREAS, Many acres of federal lands slated for wilderness designation do not qualify as pristine as required by the "Wilderness Act" of 1964; and

WHEREAS, The United States Congress considered the option of wilderness designation for federal lands in Colorado and designated several areas under the "Wilderness Act" of 1964 and approved two statewide wilderness bills. One of those statewide wilderness bills was enacted in 1980 and classified one million four hundred thousand acres as wilderness. The other was enacted in 1993 and provided wilderness protection for six hundred eleven thousand seven hundred acres, bringing the total wilderness acreage in Colorado to three million three hundred thousand to date; and

WHEREAS, The United States Congress declared that lands once studied and found to be unsuitable for wilderness designation should be returned to multiple­use management; and

WHEREAS, H.R. 829 creates a federal reserved water right for each wilderness area, an approach specifically rejected in the 1980 and 1993 wilderness bills; and

WHEREAS, The designation of downstream wilderness areas may result in the application of the federal "Clean Water Act of 1977" requirements in a manner that interferes with existing and future beneficial water uses in Colorado; and

WHEREAS, The overall effect of the designation of downstream wilderness areas will be to destroy Colorado's ability to develop and use water allocated to the citizens of this state under interstate compacts, thereby forfeiting Colorado's water to downstream states; and

WHEREAS, Many of our rural economies are dependent on a combination of multiple uses of our public lands, such as timber production, oil, gas, and mineral development, and motorized and mechanized recreation, all of which are prohibited by a wilderness designation and also severely inhibits the ability to conduct grazing activities on public lands; and

WHEREAS, Wilderness designations limit the land management options available to public land managers to protect forest health and dependent watersheds; and

WHEREAS, Additional wilderness designation puts increased pressure on the new designated lands as well as lands currently open to multiple­use activities and limits access to only the most physically capable individuals; now, therefore,

Be It Resolved by the House of Representatives of the Sixty­second General Assembly of the State of Colorado, the Senate concurring herein:

That the members of the Sixty­second General Assembly oppose H.R. 829, the "Colorado Wilderness Act of 1999".

Be It Further Resolved, That copies of this resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States, the United States Secretary of the Interior, the Director of the United States Bureau of Land Management, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and to each member of Colorado's delegation in the United States Congress.