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Congressman Polis Introduces Eagle and Summit County Wilderness Preservation Act
After an intense public review and consensus building process, late last night Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced H.R. 6280 – The Eagle and Summit County Wilderness Preservation Act – which would designate nearly 166,000 acres of public land in Summit and Eagle Counties within Colorado’s second congressional district as wilderness and special protection areas.
“Colorado’s wild places are the heart of our state’s character and our state’s natural beauty is itself a precious resource that we must preserve,” said Polis. “These areas are essential to our economy and our environment, and through this legislation we can ensure that our beautiful areas continue to provide habitat for our diverse wildlife, opportunities to enjoy and appreciate the great outdoors, and jobs and for local economies. After working extensively with stakeholders and examining the areas in question trail-by-trail, I am proud to introduce this legislation that has gained support and backing from the community.”
The legislation incorporates further discussions with area water providers, the Colorado National Guard, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), the recreation community and conservationists to ensure that the legislation meets the long-term needs of these stakeholders. The next step in the legislative process is for the bill to be referred to the House Natural Resources Committee for review.Local Support:
“The vitality of our Mountain Resort economy flows from the natural environment around us and the balance between use and enjoyment and preservation of important lands. Congressman Polis’ Eagle and Summit County Wilderness proposal has been tailored to help protect some of the more vulnerable lands adjacent to existing wilderness, while still leaving plenty of public lands for the mixed uses many of our residents enjoy. This is a real gift to future Eagle County residents. “-- Jon Stavney, Eagle County Commissioner
“The preservation of our natural resources is not only good for our economy but for future generations. Protection of land, wildlife habitat, and water resources is absolutely vital to our future. Once these resources are gone, they are irreplaceable.” -- Margaret Rogers, Vail Town Council member
“We’re in the tourism business and people come to mountains to experience the natural beauty of Colorado, so it only makes sense that we preserve the scenic, wild areas near Vail for posterity. Polis’ bill captures what we hope to achieve to protect our community’s best interest.” -- Andy Daly, Vail Town Council member
“Rep. Polis’ action today is a giant step forward in securing Colorado’s natural legacy. Wilderness designation will help protect our remaining intact ecosystems, wildlife habitat and migration corridors. I applaud Congressman Polis, his dedicated staff, and the many groups of people doing the difficult work of reaching consensus.” -- Karn Stiegelmeier, Summit County Commissioner
“I appreciate the Congressman's efforts and his staff's efforts to listen to a great variety of parties. I am pleased that the parties sat down and have been working on these companion designations. I know I applaud the Congressman's efforts in getting us as much wilderness as he can.” -- Dr. John Warner, Town of Breckenridge Mayor
Eagle and Summit County Wilderness Preservation Act Resources:
More information on Polis’ draft legislation is available at www.polis.house.gov/wilderness.