I am excited about the Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy (CORE) Act, which was introduced by U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and U.S. Congressman Joe Neguse earlier this year.
The CORE Act is the culminating result of years of efforts by a broad and diverse coalition of stakeholders, including recreation groups, local businesses, sportsmen, ranchers, and local governments. Most importantly to me, I am pleased that more than 200,000 acres of land in the Thompson Divide have been included in the bill for permanent mineral withdrawal.
The Thompson Divide is an important area for many different groups of people and, especially, for a variety of wildlife species. As one of the largest roadless areas in the state, it provides prime habitat for elk, deer and native cutthroat trout.
Human use of this area also provides around 300 jobs and generates more than $30 million for the local economy. Permanently protecting Thompson Divide for current and future generations is the best path forward, and is what the local community wants.
During the times I have lived in and visited Carbondale and Redstone I have enjoyed exploring the Thompson Divide and its adjacent environs. The Crystal River Valley is among the most beautiful areas I have seen.
This area is one of the chief reasons I am moving back to Carbondale. I know many others who share my affection for this special area. Over the past 20 years we have enjoyed hiking, climbing, snowshoeing and skiing in the Thompson Divide area.
I urge the Garfield County commissioners to once again support permanent legislative protection for Thompson Divide. Their lack of support is contradictory to their previous decade-long support for mineral withdrawal in the Thompson Divide and it undermines the years of work by their constituents to protect the area.
I urge the commissioners to act in the best interests of their constituents and support the CORE Act. I also urge Sen. Cory Gardner and Rep. Scott Tipton to support, and vote yes for, the CORE Act.