Outdoor Community Requests Colorado Governor’s Intervention

Outdoor Community Requests Colorado Governor’s Intervention in Roadless Rule-Making Process
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News for Immediate Release

June 22, 2009

Contact: Thomas O’Keefe, 425-417-9012, okeefe@amwhitewater.org

Outdoor Community Requests Colorado Governor’s Intervention

in Roadless Rule-Making Process

More than 40 Colorado organizations and businesses sign letter supporting significant revisions

to draft Colorado roadless rule, stress economic importance of backcountry

DENVER – A broad coalition of human-powered outdoors recreation groups and businesses today asked Colorado Governor Bill Ritter to protect Colorado’s outdoors by implementing revisions into a draft rule for management of the state’s national forest roadless areas. Led by the Outdoor Alliance and Outdoor Industry Association, the consortium stressed the importance of public-lands roadless areas in sustaining both Colorado’s recreational opportunities and its economy, and it emphasized that the proposed Colorado roadless rule currently does not ensure that these valuable lands will be appropriately managed.

“The availability of high-quality outdoor recreation opportunities is a major contributing factor to the quality of life in Colorado,” said Kim Coupounas, cofounder and chief sustainability officer of GoLite, an outdoor clothing and equipment manufacturer based in Boulder that signed the recreationists’ letter to the governor. “Simply put, many of our members and customers live and work in Colorado because of the recreational opportunities.”

Members of the outdoors industry and outdoors groups have been meeting with representatives from the state and U.S. Forest Service throughout the development of the Colorado roadless rule, which was initiated in 2007. Many in the outdoors community have raised concerns that the rule, as presently drafted, fails to adequately protect the backcountry and is in need of specific changes and clarifications.

“Colorado roadless areas provide some of the best recreation opportunities in the state,” said Nathan Fey, fourth-generation Coloradan and Colorado stewardship director of American Whitewater, a signatory of the coalition’s letter. “Rivers like the Cache la Poudre, the Piedra and Oh Be Joyful Creek are iconic whitewater runs that are valued for their high-quality roadless character.”

Colorado’s 345 roadless areas comprise approximately 4.4 million acres. Active outdoor recreation contributes more than $10 billion annually to the Colorado economy, supporting 107,000 jobs in the state and generating $500 million annually in state tax revenue.

 “Roadless areas in Colorado’s national forests have played a significant role in our state’s economic vitality and especially so as these special landscapes have provided for world-renowned outdoor recreation opportunities,” said Mike Van Abel, executive director of the International Mountain Bicycling Association, which also signed the recreationists’ letter to the governor. “The allure of the wild quality of these ecologically vital forests is what inspires outdoor enthusiasts to advocate for and partner with the U.S. Forest Service and the state of Colorado to ensure future generations have opportunities for adventure and solitude that we enjoy today.”

Read the letter and review the list of signatories.

The mission of the Outdoor Alliance is to ensure the conservation and stewardship of our nation’s land and waters through the promotion of sustainable, human-powered recreation. The Outdoor Industry Association is the premier trade association for companies in the active outdoor recreation business.

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