I applaud Tom Sykes for his Aug. 11 letter concerning The Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act sponsored by Sen. Barrasso (Wyo.) and Rep. McCarthy (Calif.), and co-sponsored by our own Scott Tipton. This bill would remove current protection for all USFS Roadless Areas and BLM Wilderness Study Areas, leaving them open to probable development, road building and motorized travel. It would also arrogantly ban all future roadless-area and wilderness designations!
Tipton reveals his true colors as a right-wing extremist with political views, at least on this important issue, identical with those of the tea party. I'm sure developers (oil, gas, mining, timber, ski resorts, inter alia) and the motorized crowd of wilderness haters are cheering. Tipton's co-sponsorship of this bill shows his complete lack of understanding and concern for the values Roadless Areas and Wilderness Study Areas were meant to preserve.
I point out that the Roadless Rule, issued by Bill Clinton in 2000, has been the subject of discussion in many public meetings throughout the state and has been endorsed by the majority of citizens attending. All states but Colorado and Idaho have opted for the rule, as is, while Colorado has proposed its own plan. Much work and money has been invested to develop this plan, and comments on the result have recently been solicited by thee state and the USFS, with a proposed adoption date by the end of this year. The Roadless Area Release Act co-sponsored by Tipton would make the work on the Roadless Rule moot, and would be in contradiction to the expressed preferences of the majority of Colorado citizens who participated in this precess. The roadless areas are, with the exception of designated Wilderness, the last remaining wild places in this country, and as such, they need protection, not exploitation.