Image via WikipediaDon't you just love it when our mountain biking advocates reach out and make their voices heard! Well recently, IMBA Executive Director Mike Van Abel recently coauthored an opinion piece on Colorado's pending roadless legislation. Writing for the Denver Post, Van Abel joined with Brady Robinsion, executive director of the Access Fund. Both IMBA and the Access Fund are founding members of the Outdoor Alliance. As always, I have an opinion on their commentary, but let's look at the article a little more closely shall we?
To start, Van Abel and Brady Robinsion make it clear upfront how they (and their members) feel about the roadless rule actions!
Despite some needed improvements, the draft Colorado roadless rule fails to provide long-term assurances for the future of quality backcountry recreation in the Centennial State. In order to secure these recreation and economic benefits, Colorado's roadless areas must be managed at a level that is equal to or greater than the protections afforded by the national roadless rule.
The state's current proposal simply does not meet this criterion.Naturally, one has to present the economic benefits of outdoor recreation in Colorado, which is why most of us are here anyway...What's more, most of us are conservationists and recyclers too! We are the perfect users... We protect because we pedal (climb, ski, run, hike, etc)!
Active outdoor recreation supports 107,000 Colorado jobs and generates $500 million annually in state tax revenue. Simply put, many people live and work in Colorado because of the recreational opportunities.Then the beef of the article is below... What I can't believe is that Colorado is putting TIMBER ahead of recreation! Seriously, what is this the 1930's again? I'm all for building, but we cannot keep destroying our natural resources to suite our insatiable desire. Seriously, one day we do have to stop - believe me or not... THE OIL, TIMBER, WATER will not last forever... That said, IMBA and ACCESS FUND have a done a great job working with all users of our forests. I'm just love conflict.
Our perspective is practical rather than ideological; we focus on protecting the values on the ground. To that end, we believe Gov. Bill Ritter deserves praise for making some refinements to the current draft. Creation of an upper-tier category and improvements to the inventory are definitely a step in the right direction.
Yet overall, the proposed Colorado rule doesn't provide the same assurances for outdoor recreation as the national roadless rule. It fails to uphold and improve roadless area characteristics, such as primitive recreation opportunities. The upper-tier management category is ill defined and covers too few acres. The proposed rule appears to be a litany of exceptions and allows for aggressive timber management activities in the heart of backcountry areas — activities that could degrade recreational experiences for a long time. The draft rule should not be finalized in its present form.
Support IMBA and the ACCESS FUND! They are trying to support your recreation...