What Sportsmen and Enviros Have to Say About Ritter's Roadless Plan

August 4 2009, 9:59 AM

ritter-billYou'd think Governor Bill Ritter's administration would get credit from sportsmen's groups and environmentalists for a new plan that aims to protect 4,184,000 acres of state land by preventing roads from being built on them. Instead, they're unimpressed by a plan they call a giveaway rife with loopholes for industries that can damage natural areas. While Mike King, the deputy director of the state's Department of Natural Resources, hails the proposal as more protective than a 2001 federal standard, Ryan Bidwell, director of Durango-based Colorado Wild, tells The Denver Post that the plan "leaves the door so wide open that there could be road-building and logging on any of those acres under the guise of 'community wildfire protection.'" There are also exceptions in the plan that would continue to allow power lines and mining in habitats that might be considered fragile. In a specific example, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership says the new rule would allow coal mining around Currant Creek, an area known for its elk and deer hunting, according to the Grand Junction Sentinel. The Department of Natural Resources is giving residents 60 days to scour the plan and to recommend changes, according to the Vail Daily.