CORE Wilderness bill opposed by OHV recreation groups in Colorado

(Feb. 13, 2019) – Federal legislation designating nearly 400,000 acres as Wilderness in Colorado that will prohibit motorized recreation in the San Juan mountains and Continental Divide areas is drawing criticism from several off-highway vehicle advocacy groups.

The CORE Act (Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act) is a compilation of four previous wilderness bills. The new CORE Wilderness bills, S.241, by Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and H.R.823, introduced by newly elected Rep. Joe Neguse (CO D-2), reflect efforts to pass legislation by Senator Bennet that have previously been rejected by Congress in the past. While the sponsors claim the legislation is a product of an extensive stakeholder process, OHV groups including the Trails Preservation Alliance, Colorado Off Highway Vehicle Coalition and the Colorado Snowmobile Association say their members have been left out of the stakeholder process.

Sen. Bennet’s bill combines a former San Juan Wilderness proposal and a Continental Divide Wilderness proposal. CORE also includes the Old Thompson Divide proposal and sets a boundary for the Curecanti National Park around Blue Mesa Reservoir. Despite assertions that this is a pro-recreation bill, CORE seeks to limit recreational opportunities.

These limitations include closing existing multi-use trails, putting far more trails at risk in the long term and closing open areas to future OHV usage, says COHVCO spokesman Jerry Abboud. Multiple use trail advocates, including bicycle and e-bike enthusiasts should be alarmed, added Abboud.
OHV recreationists are urged to contact not only Sen. Bennet’s offices to express concern, but Sen. Cory Gardner’s offices, as well. Both Gardner (R-CO), and Rep. Scott Tipton (CO R-3), have registered their opposition to the CORE Act, according to Abboud.

For more information, contact Jerry Abboud: g.abboud@comcast.net or (303) 722-1327.

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