Salazar, Udall file bill to designate 250,000 acres of Wilderness in Rocky Mtn NP

Many people don’t realize the Wilderness Act also applies to national parks

Another point is that Ken Salazar is still a U.S. Senator. It is smart not to resign your old job until you actually confirmed (witness Bill Richardson who is still New Mexico’s governor)

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Salazar is also pushing for 210,000 acres of protection on the Uncompahgre plateau of SW Colorado. It would be named the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area. About 65,000 acres of this  would be classified as  the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness Area. This is possibly more significant than the Rocky Mountain NP Wilderness because designating the backcountry of a national park as Wilderness can be a bit redundant.

Salazar’s actions will no doubt burnish his credentialsl as future secretary of Interior.



  1. Salle Avatar

    I posted this on the open thread but I think it got buried by the “quake clown” story posts…

    “Hey, Look who’s planning to come to Montana!!!

    I guess Sen. Testor is interested in showing the Sec. around on horseback, hope they have some good ole Montana style cold like -50F when he comes careening into town!!!! (Ooops, couldn’t help it on that one…)

    And don’t forget to scroll down to the other headlines that include how the Plum Creek guys thank Mark Rey for his part in helping them. And the one about how Gov. Schweitzer calls the lobbyists a gang of vultures… And more.”

    So Salazar signs a wilderness Bill that includes a chunk of Colorado and few other spots. From the sound of the Flathead Times article, he’s probably not going to concern himself with wildlife for a spell, after a major portion of critical wildlife is eradicated by WS, whom he has no jurisdiction over anyway…

  2. kt Avatar

    I am becoming more and more convinced that we need to think ahead: After all this Wilderness designating, what will be the fate of the other, lesser, “inferior” public lands?

    That part of what the PEW and Campaign for America’s Wilderness Push is about is what then happens to the REST of the public land. And I am betting when we get to that part – it won’t be pretty …

    The public lands are being carved up and Zoned … Into expendable and non-expendable. Just watch …

  3. Salle Avatar

    I do hope that Salazar will listen to the Native Americans on the reservation and their concerns for wildlife while he’s there.

    I do think that kt has a valid point about the language chosen for these designations and I wonder how that will turn out in the end. I was very concerned, decades ago, when I realized that the national forests were measured out in board feet. I knew it was just a matter of time before most of them would be cut down.

    In 1993 I was returning from a trip to Europe and came into SFO in the daytime and I noticed how many clear-cuts had ravaged the forests of the northwest. I knew that there had been a lot but I was appalled at the large area I could see from my airplane window. Others were asking me what we were looking at and I didn’t have a hard time making them understand what timber harvest was doing to our public lands. Wish I could conduct tours of the forests from the air on a regular basis, for average citizens, and show them how it is… then again, all you have to do now is take a tour on GoogleEarth, much less resource intensive.

  4. Mike Avatar

    A positive pre-game warm up, IMHO.

  5. Pronghorn Avatar

    It’s true that many don’t realize that the Wilderness Act applies to National Parks, BLM, and US Fish & Wildlife Svc. lands as well as the Forest Svc. While it might seem that Wilderness designation is redundant in a national park, it is only “a bit” redundant, as you note (and not at all, IMO). Park managers SAY that they manage the backcountry for Wilderness values, but the reality is often different, and when not mandated by law, it’s easy to grab for the expedient over the more restrictive “minimum tool” required by The Act. Plus, now comes discussion of allowing mtn. bikes on backcountry trails in national parks–no, Wilderness designation is not redundant.

  6. kt Avatar

    Pronghorn – With your example: Wilderness designation inside the Park essentially “zones” the Park. Into mountain biking and non-mountain biking areas. Or as cell phone tower and non-cell phone tower areas, and other such kinds of activities and development, many of which may be incompatible with natural values of the Park.

    I suspect the NEED for the Bill comes in part from plans for new assaults on areas of the Park outside the new Wilderness. Interior Secretary Salazar can now point to the Park Wilderness Area as sacrosanct – while mountain bike trails and all kinds of other things are developed in the areas outside the wilderness. Just my take on it.

  7. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    This bill has been around for a while. Here is a news release from May 2008.

    Most of Colorado’s delegation had signed on, including strong anti-conservation people like now-defeated congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave.

    It would be interesting to compare the new bill with the old one. Are there differences?


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Ralph Maughan