County government works to have say on wilderness issues |

County government works to have say on wilderness issues

Tyler Baskfield

Moffat County will be part of a plan recently announced by the Colorado Counties, Inc. (CCI) Public Lands Steering Committee to allow citizens the opportunity to recommend appropriate wilderness designations in their respective communities.

The wilderness classification of public land has been at the center of recent controversy. Attempts from congressonal representatives to designate large areas of land have local communities and rural governments upset over being left out of the process.

T. Wright Dickinson, Moffat County commissioner, helped outline the plan to facilitate public discussions and local recommendations on the classification of federal public lands in 23 affected counties. The plan is designed to start at a grass roots level with public hearings in each county facing wilderness designation.

“The Moffat County Board of Commissioners supports this process,” said Dickinson. “We believe it is the appropriate way to gather input and the right level to start at to deal with the issue. It gives both residents and nonresidents the opportunity to express their views on wilderness”

Moffat County won’t be able to jump into the wilderness issue, according to Dickinson. The county will have to add staff before it is able to organize and start the public process.

“We won’t start the process until after we are able to hire a planner and land use coordinator,” said Dickinson. “We’re working on it right now.”