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Massive Colorado Wilderness Proposal Threatens Hunter Access and Wildlife Habitat

Friday, March 12, 2010

Contact Your Congressman Today Regarding H.R. 4289 

H.R. 4289, sponsored by Representative Diane DeGette (D-01), would designate 850,000 acres of additional land in Colorado as Wilderness Area.  In light of the fact that all mechanized means of transportation, including bicycles and game carts, are prohibited in Wilderness, this would dramatically curtail hunter access to these vast areas.  In addition, Wilderness designation ends virtually all active wildlife and habitat management methods employed by state and federal biologists on all other lands.  This could not come at a worse time for Colorado with the forest devastation being caused by the pine beetle.  Wildlife officials must retain all means necessary to combat invasive species and actively manage for wildlife and forest health.

In a House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands meeting this week, H.R. 4289 received a hearing where many concerns were expressed to subcommittee members.  Sportsman-advocate, Congressman John Salazar (D-3), registered opposition during his testimony by saying, “I cannot support simply imposing Wilderness on my constituents… I believe it must be negotiated and worked out with all the various stakeholders to reach a consensus.”  It is essential that Coloradans thank Congressman Salazar for taking a stand on this critical issue.  Echoing some of the Congressman’s concerns, representatives of the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service testified that much more study is necessary prior to the passage of H.R. 4289. 

There are already 110 million acres of Wilderness in the United States.  These are areas often accessible only to the most able-bodied or those who have the time and resources to dedicate to lengthy pack trips.  Diminishing access to hunting lands is one of the primary reasons cited for decreasing hunter recruitment and retention rates.  The NRA will continue to defend existing access to public hunting lands throughout America.  You must play a role in this ongoing effort by contacting your congressman today and registering your opposition to H.R. 4289.

Diana DeGette (D-01)
202-225-4431
http://www.house.gov/formdegette/dcs_zip_auth_v2.shtml

Jared Polis (D-02)
202-225-2161
http://polis.house.gov/Contact/ContactForm.htm

John Salazar (D-3)
2-225-4761
http://www.house.gov/salazar/contact.shtml

Betsy Markey (D-04) 
202-225-4676
http://betsymarkey.house.gov/Contact/

Doug Lamborn (R-05)
202-225-4422
http://lamborn.house.gov (click contact Doug)

Mike Coffman (R-06)
202-225-7881
http://forms.house.gov/coffman/webforms/issue_subscribe.htm

Ed Perlmutter (D-07) 
202-225-2645
http://perlmutter.house.gov/IMA/issue_subscribe.htm

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