Roadless Plan Reaches Consensus

The state Roadless Area Task Force makes a recommendation to Governor Bill Owens that all 4.4 million acres of land considered roadless be largely preserved in that character.

Exceptions would be made for fire fighting, logging as part of a forest fire–reduction plan and other similar needs, but any roads would be temporary and closed to public use.

Energy exploration in roadless areas would also be allowed, but no new roads could be built. Coal exploration in the North Fork Valley of the Gunnison would also continue, but any lands disturbed during those activities-most of which occurs underground-would have to be returned to original condition.

Environmentalists say they are pleased that the plan holds true to the form of maintaining the roadless character of the lands. Task Force member State Representative Josh Penry says lays success for the plan to the local grassroots connections of those making up the task force.

Penry says he expects Governor Owens will forward the panel's plan to the U.S. Department of Agriculture largely intact. He says he will press the state's congressmen to help keep the plan as it's written once it gets to the federal government.