McInnis measure compromises 1964 Wilderness Act |

McInnis measure compromises 1964 Wilderness Act

Dear Editor,

Colorado citizens, environmental groups, and Rep. Scott McInnis have worked together for wilderness designation for northwestern Colorado’s Deep Creek Canyon. This is a great idea and McInnis’ efforts are laudable, but his recent Deep Creek wilderness legislation actually compromises the 1964 Wilderness Act, and because of that may do more harm than good.

The issue is the bill’s provision for the Army National Guard to land helicopters in the canyon on training flights. The purpose of the Wilderness Act was to create places for recreation and solitude away from machines and technology. Allowing helicopters to land in Deep Creek, through language in a wilderness bill, compromises the wilderness qualities of the canyon and undermines the spirit of the act itself.

As a return visitor to Deep Creek Canyon, I know that the area is an excellent candidate for wilderness designation. The canyon is wonderfully scenic, totally undeveloped, and provides great recreational opportunities. However, I can’t support McInnis’ Deep Creek wilderness bill until the exception allowing helicopter landings is removed. Let’s ask Rep. McInnis to do just that, and give us a bill that preserves both the canyon and the original intent of the Wilderness Act.

Jon Broholm


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