Hotel Colorado to host roadless meeting
Environmentalists, anglers, hunters, forest lovers and off-roaders are sure to pack the room when the Colorado Roadless Area Task Force meets June 21 in Glenwood Springs after months of rhetoric that the fate of the White River National Forest’s road-free territory rests in the task force members’ hands. Now, after about a year of uncertainty, the task force has announced a place and a time for the meeting: It will be held between 5 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. at the Hotel Colorado. The meeting is one of nine such meetings held across the state since October, allowing the public to speak out about how they want roadless areas managed in each of the state’s 12 national forests. The state Legislature created the Roadless Area Task Force after the U.S. Department of Agriculture last year rescinded a Clinton-era rule that required the Forest Service to protect more than 58 million acres that were deemed roadless. A new Bush administration rule leaves it up to states to recommend whether the Forest Service should open roadless areas.Roadless areas are undeveloped tracts of national forest land with an area of at least 5,000 acres that lack roads wider than 50 inches and are officially designated as roadless by the Forest Service. Off-highway vehicle trails, grazing, oil and gas leasing and other uses may still be allowed in many roadless areas. “A lot of people have vested interests in roadless areas, and if they do, and if they care, … they should go, make their comments heard, make their voices heard,” said White River National Forest spokeswoman Kristi Ponozzo. At the Glenwood Springs meeting, task force members are asking the public to comment on roadless issues on the White River National Forest and Colorado’s small portion of the Manti-La Sal National Forest, which lies mostly in Utah. The task force will meet again June 22 in Grand Junction to hear public comment about roadless areas in the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison national forests. Roadless Area Task Force June Meeting ScheduleGlenwood Springs: 5 p.m. June 21 at the Hotel ColoradoGrand Junction: 5 p.m. June 22 at the Country Inns Hotel, 718 Horizon DriveMonte Vista: 5 p.m. June 7, Bill Metz Central Auditorium
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Grace Wesseling is an animal lover, a cheerleader of seven years and another soon-to-be graduate of Bridges High School, class of 2021.