Nick Payne and Aaron Kindle: Colorado roadless proposal needs work

The proposal falls short of sportsman approval as it is now

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— Colorado sportsmen responded with mixed emotions to the release of a new draft rule for national forest roadless areas in Colorado. When compared to the 2001 national roadless rule, the proposal makes some improvements but continues to fall well short of sustaining the valuable fish and wildlife habitat, unsurpassed outdoor opportunities and economic benefits provided by these public lands.

National forest roadless areas, commonly known as backcountry, provide some of Colorado’s last undisturbed fish and wildlife habitat and some of the finest hunting and fishing in the country. Conservation of roadless areas directly benefits sportsmen, business owners and small rural communities throughout the state. Consequently, strong protections for these areas are needed to safeguard our world-class hunting and fishing opportunities and the economic stability they provide.

Currently, 92 percent of Colorado’s national forest lands are within 1 mile of a road. Roads have been shown to increase big game vulnerability and result in shorter seasons and fewer available tags for hunters. High road densities also decrease the quality of streamside habitat, which is detrimental for wild trout and reduces angling opportunities. In Colorado, roadless areas comprise nearly 60 percent of all native cutthroat trout habitat and more than 50 percent of the public land in the 15 most-hunted game management units.

Accordingly, sportsmen want Colorado’s roadless areas conserved at a level equal to or stronger than the 2001 national rule. We have indentified more than 2 million acres of roadless backcountry crucial to native coldwater fish and big game. The Colorado proposal fails to protect these key areas in its preferred alternative. For the Colorado rule to live up to the national rule standard, the “upper tier” acreage must be considerably expanded. Upper tier protections are important because these lands receive even stronger protections than those provided by the national roadless rule. Significant upper tier designations would balance some of the exceptions for backcountry development permitted in the current proposal. This kind of tiered approach played a major role in Idaho, where a state-developed rule was embraced by hunters and anglers and now is hailed as a success.

Additionally, the Colorado proposal fails to prohibit harmful surface development in upper tier areas for oil and gas projects. “Linear construction zones” — unimproved temporary roads in all but name — are allowed for the construction of unnecessary power-line corridors, oil and gas pipelines and water projects through the heart of Colorado’s best backcountry areas.

The new draft rule does resolve some of the problems that plagued earlier versions. The rule now more strongly commits to maintaining roadless area characteristics. Timber cutting activities now focus on restoration instead of pest suppression. Decommissioning and reclamation standards have been added for roads. These changes improve the rule, but more changes are needed before sportsmen can support the proposal.

While the work isn’t yet done, sportsmen think the Colorado roadless rule can be a success story. We stand ready to do our part and will remain actively involved crafting a final Colorado roadless rule that benefits us all. As hunters and anglers who directly benefit from roadless lands, we have a responsibility to make our voices heard so that the Colorado rule becomes worthy of our support. We ask that all hunters and anglers take the time to craft detailed comments explaining the importance of roadless backcountry areas that they enjoy to help ensure our sporting heritage.

The complete RDEIS along with a summary, maps, and other information can be found at www.roadless.fs.fed.us. Send your comments to Colorado Roadless Rule, P.O. BOX 1919, Sacramento, CA 95812 or via email to cocomments@fsroadless.org.

Nick Payne lives in Denver and is the Colorado field representative for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. Aaron Kindle lives in Golden and is the Colorado field coordinator for Trout Unlimited.

Comments

sledneck 3 years, 4 months ago

Read "roadless". Think "Wilderness". Nothing more than a backdoor way to designate more and more land wilderness.

Kills local jobs. Kills forests. Beetles love it though.

Nature, without man is un-natural. Sportsmen? Hardly.

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thalgard 3 years, 4 months ago

Sled...fire suppression is what caused the beetles, and you know it! No amount of logging could have prevented this outbreak, for it hit primarily middle aged lodgepole forests. Wilderness areas provide key habitat and protect watersheds. So go suck your tailpipe.

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the_Lizard 3 years, 4 months ago

Thalgard, back up your claims that managing the forest through logging wouldn't have helped prevent beetle kill. with something other than, because I said so and I feel good saying it. From the USDA, the same morons that have helped kill the timbering industry here in Colorado. http://www.barkbeetles.org/mountain/fidl2.htm "Thinning stands of lodgepole and ponderosa pines will prevent or minimize beetle-caused mortality. Patch cutting in lodgepole pine stands creates a mosaic of age and size classes, which reduces the acreage of lodgepole pine that will be highly susceptible to beetles at one time.

Where clear or patch cutting is not feasible, selective harvesting will help reduce mortality. Trees can be harvested selectively in riparian zones and in areas along roads, in campgrounds, and around scenic vistas."

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Jesiah Canady 3 years, 4 months ago

Anyone of you guys give me the number of jobs lost in the last 10 years over this? I've lived in the mountains of Colorado for my whole life and I truly thought the logging industry in this state had been all but extinct until the beetles showed up. And if the USDA is the killer of the logging industry, didn't it do that many years ago?

I have always believed that forest management INCLUDES the timber industry, but I feel that when you look at the real facts as to why the loggers left these forests goes way beyond regulation and the USDA.

Historically Colorado has not been a very cost efficient logging state and the trees we grow here have about 30% fewer uses than trees cut in Oregon or western B.C. Just bigger trees up there!

I guess there is also the FACT that in the last 10-15 years Coloradans vote for tourism and wilderness over logging at just about every chance they had.

Perhaps the loggers in Colorado should wise up to that fact.

(by the way I was a choker guy for five seasons in southern Wash. and I have six good friends in the logging industry in this state)

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thalgard 3 years, 4 months ago

Canady....the argument over what caused the beetle epidemic is lost on these right wing-nuts, ole sledneck just wants to be able to spew his two stroke grease wherever his too lazy too walk ass might go. No-one wants to buy twisty lodgepole, not now, not then.

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the_Lizard 3 years, 4 months ago

Studies by entomologists albeit government scientists (ha) say lumbering could have helped prevent beetle kill. What do you have to counter that thalgard, anything? We'll wait.

Canady, how's the timber industry in the northwest now? Government regulations, FS worker bees inefficiently pushing paper around, subsidized Canadian lumber and endless lawsuits by tree huggers. I'm certain it's not doing all that well either. Bet Coloradoans (at least the ones that like a robust economy) that vote for all that tourism and wilderness wish they would have liked timbering too and the FACT that it protects forests. BTW I know people that USED to timber here too , that's where I first learned the FACT that the logging industry could have helped prevent beetle kill.

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thalgard 3 years, 4 months ago

Creepy reptilian thing....find a market for lodgepole and show me how the demise of the Colorado logging industry has anything to do with the Wilderness Act. The fact is, we grow trees really slow here, so we cannot compete with the shear quantity and quality of timber that comes out of the Northwest. Also, much of Colorado's old growth forest was decimated during the railroad building and mining booms of the last century. Commercial logging died in Colorado because the people realized that wilderness sells itself in terms of tourism many times over, while large scale commercial logging with its rampant road building and destruction of critical watersheds only extracts resources once....hence profiting the few. The protections granted Colorado's wilderness benefit not only sportsmen, tourists, critters, but downstream water users as well.

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sledneck 3 years, 4 months ago

"Go suck my tailpipe"? My "too lazy to walk ass..."? Good ones Thalgard!

So, at least you admit roadless is just a way of getting wilderness without going through the steps congress intended. That much we agree on.

Now, about trees being a resource that can "only be extracted once"... If that were true then there would be no trees since the "railroad and mining booms of the last century decimated the olg growth trees". WRONG Trees are a crop; just like corn. You can either cut corn when its mature or watch it die and fall to the ground... JUST LIKE TREES.

I will grant you that lodgepole is not exactly quality timber but in many parts of the world they have a use for it anyway... it's called pulp-wood and it has great benifits. It is also a lie to say that timber only "profits a few". The USFS sells timber and, had they not allowed the entire crop to DIE (same thing as mature all at the same time) they could have sold it and ALL TAXPAYERS would have benifited, not just "a few".

I could go on but I'm gonna go "suck my tailpipe" and let you keep believing whatever you want.

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thalgard 3 years, 4 months ago

Two stroke breath...to whom should the evil socialist USDA have sold the beetle kill trees to? And you must have been drinking the ethanol when you compared pine trees(which get mature in like 40 years up here) to corn, which, you know, is an annual. I support roadless areas as a buffer to wilderness, which is mostly rock and ice in these parts. So breath deep, amigo, the clean air that you suck in whilst not breathing the exhaust of your playthings is thanks to the Wilderness Act.

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sledneck 3 years, 4 months ago

The only difference between corn and lodgepole is the time to maturity. They are both CROPS.

Wilderness is not supposed to need a "buffer" as it is WILDERNESS all on its own. What you guys really want is wilderness right down to your front door. Thats where the roadless buffer comes in. Camoflage for YOUR laziness; not mine!!!!!!!!!!

The USFS sells the trees to the highest bidder. Now, I know that concept is difficult to understand but that is how business works.

As far as ethanol goes, I think that ethanol is a terrible idea. It sucks. It uses ground water and food to produce what we already have in the ground... energy in the form of oil, gas and coal. I am curious; How many tons of pollution are discharged above/ in wilderness by airplanes bringing skiers in to hayden so they can ski in the "wilderness"?

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thalgard 3 years, 4 months ago

Steamboat Ski And Resort is not in the "wilderness", and your right, tourists do burn Al quaeda juice in order to visit us. However, those same tourists that visit our sleepy little burg bring fistfuls of money, a bit more than Louisiana Pacific ever did. After all, it is really about the dinero, isn't it, amigo?

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the_Lizard 3 years, 4 months ago

Ignorant, nonsensical word salad thingy (that's right I'm talking to you thalgard). As predicted you have no answer to the fact that logging would have helped prevent beetle kill. Now shut down the computer you are wasting precious resources.

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thalgard 3 years, 4 months ago

Oh forked tongued one, you have failed to produce any buyer for said logs that you claim were left to rot by "treehuggers". Does my use of big words confuse your tiny reptilian brain? My point is that people come to spend money here because it's friggin beautiful here, not to see some pulp mill and miles of below cost roads for you and sledneck to ride on. The wilderness act set aside millions of acres precisely because of the factors I mentioned earlier; protection of watersheds, critical habitats and other areas "left untrammeled" by man. It is not some grand socialist scam, but rather an attempt to preserve some vestige of native ecosystems(a concept in itself way too complicated for your lizard brain to comprehend) before they are all gone. The fact is, your mother wasted precious resources when she fed and clothed you for all those years, now go back eating bugs or whatever it is that you repugna-morons do with your time.

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sledneck 3 years, 4 months ago

Endless forests of dead pine trees are not "friggin beautiful". They are testimony to the ineptness of the USFS and the foolishness of environmentalists. Colorado has some of the most "protected" forests on earth and they are some of the sickest; not just pine but fir, aspen, spruce and other species are pathetically ill here. It is my opinion that it is due to, in no small part, the unrelenting assault on peoples desire to access and utilize them.

I agree that it is good to have set aside wilderness in perpetuity. But we already have enough wilderness; too much even. Furthermore, just the fact that you keep comming back to the "wilderness" thing proves that the intention of "roadless" areas, in the mind of environmentalists, is in FACT to create quasi-wilderness areas without going through the congressionally designed process.

That was my original statement: Roadless really means wilderness. Further extension of wilderness will kill jobs rather than create them. These guys are not "sportsmen" they are radical environmentalists hiding under the banner of sportsman in order to sell people the lie that sportsmen approve of this roadless nonsense. They are operating as such because they know that the American people have had just about enough of the environmental crap.

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thalgard 3 years, 4 months ago

Oh yeah, two stroke wonder, the American people are growing tired of clean air, clean water, and healthy herds of ungulates. Nobody wants to see a moose, they all want to see your fat ass on a overloaded snowmobile chasing Bison through Yellowstone!

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sledneck 3 years, 4 months ago

So setting aside more and more wilderness is good for everybody so we have to do it whether some want it or not?

I did see a huge bull moose this winter. I chased him till he died. It was great fun! They are much easier to find on a snowmobile. I ran over a coyote too... squished his head!

You don't have to lock everybody out of the entire forest to have clean air, water and healthy plants do you?

Why don't you buy a big chunk of ground and designate it wilderness if you feel so strongly about it? A lot of other people can't afford it right now. They need jobs. They are not independently wealthy like us.

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thalgard 3 years, 4 months ago

NO double stroker...we just need to lock you out. just you. you're the problem, not the solution. maybe that same bull moose can go a little natural selection on your fat ass, do us all a favor.

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sledneck 3 years, 4 months ago

It's too late for that moose, he's dead; coyote too! But I know where he's at and I'm going back when the snow melts to get his antlers. He had a huge rack! I'm gonna mount them on the front of my sled so I'll be ready when I see you.

Too bad you can't lock me out. Next winter I'll think of you when I'm chasing coyotes.

And remember, if you see a snowmobiler comming at you with a moose rack on the hood... look out! Hee hee hee.

Be sure and let us all know when you make that big land grant so we can get your name and picture in the paper, maybe have a ribbon-cutting ceremony, drink a little wine...

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thalgard 3 years, 4 months ago

Sled...I actually like debating with you, it adds a little fervor to my morning...kind of like talking to my goldfish. Like I said before, forty years of fire suppression, a warming climate, and a severe drought are what caused the massive beetle outbreak that we have seen throughout the Rockies. You can drink your boxed wine and eat you armour hot dogs while blaming environmentalists all you want...I know the truth and it is't on Putz Limbaugh's morning show.

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the_Lizard 3 years, 4 months ago

"K" dear sweet, yet very angry, thalgard, let me type this veeeerrryyy slowly so you can understand. In this economy, under these economic conditions, I would agree there probably isn't a viable market for "said logs." But, at one time there was a market, there were sawmills and there were jobs in the lumbering industry. Eco-extremists, such as yourself, created a negative environment for timber sales, collapsed the viability of most sawmills on the western slope and helped create the unhealthy forests, and the brown wilderness you brag about today. From the Denver Post: "Conservation groups are starting to understand the role that timber companies have in keeping forests healthy, and taking part in collaboration efforts, he said. If fewer timber sales are delayed through legal action, mills have a steadier stream of timber from federal lands, Bonnie said. That allows timber companies to continue operating and strengthen local communities, he said." http://www.denverpost.com/colorado/ci_17700891 And now, there aren't any sawmills to haul all those dead trees to. hmmm, go figure. People can use natural resources, yet protect the environment. It's when people go overboard, either way, that there are problems. I would argue that over the past 30 years or so environmentalists have played a huge role in screwing up this country and our economy. Drought, what drought? Drought is a common occurance in Colorado: "Since 1981, Colorado has seen a sustained overall wet period" "•The most common droughts are of short duration (6 months or less) with aerial extents that vary with the seasons. •Multi-year droughts occur infrequently. •Precipitation data indicate that most weather stations across the state have experienced two or more consecutive years of precipitation less than 80% of average a few times during the 20th century." http://dola.colorado.gov/dem/public_information/drought.htm

The USFS has garnered huge sums of money for fire suppression and that does have a lot to do with the beetle kill problem as well as the fact that the lumber industry here in Colorado is fairly well decimated. I know the truth ( good grief, eye roll)

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sledneck 3 years, 4 months ago

One thing I have noticed is that you can always tell when leftists start losing an argument because they start the name-calling.

Thus far thalgard has called me a " fat ass" has said I am "too lazy to walk", called me "THE problem", said that a bull moose would be "doing us all a favor if it did a little natural selection on my fat ass", compared my intellect to his goldfish and told me to "go suck my tailpipe".

Also, he has called lizard a "dimwit" with a "tiny reptillian brain" and a "forked tongue...", etc.

Now, none of that stuff bothers me. In fact it's actually funny as hell. Besides, I can give as good as I get.

I think, more than anything, it shows not only that they do not KNOW the truth but that they do not WANT to know it and their anger is kindled at anyone who dares attempt to pry open their eyelids.

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thalgard 3 years, 4 months ago

Sled...actually the image of you in a maids outfit performing fellatio on your still running snowmobile's tailpipe while El Lizzo (dressed as a SS Commando or course) is beating you with a cat o' nine tails is priceless!

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sledneck 3 years, 4 months ago

Just be on the look-out for those moose antlers, buddy boy!

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the_Lizard 3 years, 4 months ago

Sledneck, I'm chalking up a win for us here. Not a single of my arguments could be refuted, furthermore, I backed all my facts with links to government sites. (thought that would make em happy, but no ;-) The name calling doesn't bother me either, and as for the strange sexual scenerio, welllll, for some, it's all they have. We must be understanding. Sad very, very sad.

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sledneck 3 years, 4 months ago

Yeah Lizard. I agree. Thanks for playing along. Catch you on the next one.

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