To the editor:
In 2001, the Forest Service adopted a rule to limit roads in the backcountry of our state. This rule was supported by ranchers, hunters, anglers and everyday folks like you and me, who recognized that national forest roadless areas are crucial for a variety of reasons.
Roadless areas provide clean water for people and wildlife. Some of the best big-game habitat is in roadless areas, and they also provide excellent backcountry recreation opportunities.
The 2001 rule was win-win by protecting Colorado backcountry and did not cause any existing roads or trails to be closed.
The Bush administration is moving forward with plans to remove this protection for Colorado's roadless backcountry. The Draft Colorado Roadless Rule would open loopholes to permit road construction almost anywhere in the state's 4 million acres of roadless national forest.
The Draft Colorado Rule would allow "long-term temporary roads" in the backcountry. These so-called "temporary roads" can be used for 30 years.
The job of reclaiming a 30-year-old road would be difficult, and the landscape is unlikely to ever fully recover.
This is not a recipe for conserving wild places in our state. Colorado - and the people - deserve better. The Bush plan does not reflect or respect the intent to protect Colorado's roadless backcountry, as expressed by the people of Colorado. I say enough is enough!
Let's send Washington a massive uproar from the backcountry! Contact Congress and the Forest service: e-mail COcomments@fsroadless.org or write Road Less Area Conservation-Colorado, P.O. Box 162909, Sacramento, CA 95816-2909 before Oct. 23.