David Nickum (720) 581-8589
Aaron Kindle (303) 868-2859
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Sportsmen: Roadless Rule on the right track
Hunters, anglers vow to press for higher level of habitat protection
DENVER, Colo. - The latest version of the Colorado Roadless Rule, announced today at a joint news conference between the U.S. Forest Service and the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, is an improvement over previous versions, according to the state's sportsmen. However, hunters and anglers across the state were quick to point out that the proposed rule must be strengthened if it is to adequately protect Colorado's backcountry roadless lands.
"Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has already said that the standard for a Colorado Roadless Rule is that it must provide protections that are as strong, or stronger, than the original 2001 Roadless Rule," said David Nickum, Executive Director of Colorado Trout Unlimited. "With the exceptions outlined in this proposal for coal mining, ski areas and forest treatment, reaching that standard will require that a substantial amount of additional acreage receive stronger Upper Tier protections."
Nickum emphasized Trout Unlimited members are looking forward to working with the Forest Service through the comment period to ensure the finished rule protects Colorado's trout fisheries and their watersheds. A stronger conservation alternative included for environmental analysis along with the new draft rule may offer a framework for such improvements.
"We're encouraged that the Forest Service is considering a conservation alternative that would provide additional protection to many of the state's most valuable roadless areas," said Aaron Kindle, Public Lands Coordinator for Trout Unlimited's Sportsmen's Conservation Project. "We'll be working with them to make sure these kinds of protections are part of the final rule, because it's not just fish and wildlife habitat that will benefit from a stronger rule, but the many small communities in the state that depend on hunters and anglers for jobs and strong local economies."
Trout Unlimited is a private, non-profit organization with 140,000 members dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America's coldwater fisheries and their watersheds. Colorado Trout Unlimited is the organization's Colorado state council and has more than 9,000 members statewide.