Allard bill could help preservation efforts

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— Federal legislation soon to be introduced in Congress could help secure Emerald Mountain's position in the state Land Board's stewardship trust, at least until the Emerald Mountain Partnership has the chance to try to save it.

U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., is poised to introduce legislation that would amend the act that made Colorado a state in 1875 so that it would not conflict with the state's stewardship trust amendment.

That act requires the state Land Board to use its lands to pay for public education.

Allard said he wants the 1875 enabling act to go along with an amendment Colorado voters passed in 1996 allowing 300,000 acres of Land Board land to be placed in a stewardship trust.

The 1996 amendment would protect the 300,000 acres from development and it would eliminate the requirement that the Land Board use that land to help fund public education.

The legislation Allard plans to introduce would remove existing legal barriers that could endanger the future of the stewardship trust that protects Emerald Mountain.

The Steamboat Springs City Council signed a letter on Tuesday supporting the legislation.

But Ben Beall, chair of the Emerald Mountain Partnership, said the legislation is an important step, but it won't save Emerald Mountain.

The partnership will continue doing what it can to preserve the 6,400-acre parcel in

perpetuity.

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