Owens Signs Roadless Plan, Sends To Washington

Governor Bill Owens ends a year–long review of roadless areas in Colorado by approving most of a task force's recommendations.

The 13–member bi–partisan panel traveled the state getting input from users on what they would like to see in the plan, which determines which Forest Service lands would be kept free of permanent roads and most development. 40-thousand people also sent comments to the panel.

In the plan temporary roads would be allowed for fire fighting and other research projects, and ranchers would be allowed to maintain cattle facilities. Otherwise, roadless areas would remain in a semi-wilderness state.

The Bush administration decided to let states decide which lands-if any-would be preserved in a roadless condition, and also decide some of the parameters for determining what constitutes a roadless area. The plan was devised after President Clinton declared by presidential degree to preserve all roadless areas nationwide. But that plan drew protests from many and ultimately was thrown out by court decision.

The plan now goes to the Forest Service in Washington for approval.