Senator Michael Bennet and Representative Joe Neguse introduced the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act in January 2019. The CORE Act is the largest public lands bill introduced since 1993. There are four main parts to the CORE Act:
- San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act – provides permanent protections for nearly 61,000 acres of land located in the heart of the San Juan Mountains in Southwest Colorado.
- Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness, and Camp Hale Legacy Act – establishes permanent protections for nearly 100,000 acres of wilderness, recreation, and conservation areas in the White River National Forest along Colorado’s Continental Divide. It also designates the first-ever National Historic Landscape around Camp Hale to preserve and promote the 10th Mountain Division’s storied legacy. In crafting the bill, Senator Bennet and then-Congressman Jared Polis collaborated with community leaders, veterans, and businesses in Eagle, Summit, and Grand Counties.
- Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act – protects the Thompson Divide—one of Colorado’s most treasured landscapes—by withdrawing approximately 200,000 acres from future oil and gas development, while preserving existing private property rights for leaseholders and landowners. It also creates a program to lease excess methane from nearby coal mines, supporting the local economy and addressing climate change.
- Curecanti National Recreation Area Boundary Establishment Act – formally establishes the boundary for the Curecanti NRA. Although created in 1965, the boundary has never been designated by Congress, limiting the ability of the National Park Service to effectively manage the area.
The latter two sections – Thompson Divide and Curecanti NRA – are of particular interest to us in the Gunnison Basin. The CORE Act would include fluid mineral withdrawal for significant acreage in the our watershed: headwaters of the North Fork, adjacent to the Raggeds and West Elk Wilderness Areas, Kebler Pass, and east of the town of Crawford. It will also take meaningful steps toward addressing climate impacts from Coal Mine Methane (CMM) emissions in the North Fork Valley.
The CORE Act is making headlines across the country. See the links below to read more:
- Denver Post
- Colorado Sun
- Grand Junction Sentinel
- Denver Post Op-Ed – Sen. Cory Gardner’s failure to lead on public lands and wilderness will do real harm to Colorado