Protecting Colorado’s Wilderness
From Carbondale to Colorado Springs, from Denver to Durango – our state has a remarkable outdoor heritage with treasured landscapes and an abundance of natural resources. Without a doubt, our quality of life and the strength of our state is enhanced tremendously from our state’s magnificent public lands.
As a fourth-generation Coloradoan, I know how central the outdoors is to our lifestyle and how essential it is to our state’s economy. That is why it is so important we protect our wild places.
For nearly 15 years, I have been working to protect Colorado’s wilderness and have introduced legislation to do just that in every Congress since 1999. The most important part of that work has been talking with people in communities all across our great state about the impact and the importance of wilderness protection.
The Colorado Wilderness Act introduced in this Congress reflects that work and my outreach to communities across our state, to protect some of our most cherished lands. This bill proposes a balanced approach to protect 31 wilderness areas totaling approximately 750,000 acres across the state. This includes about 1% of the state’s total area and would leave unaffected over 90% of BLM-managed lands, which would remain open to oil and gas drilling, mining, off-road vehicle use and other development.
Over the years, my proposal has received significant local support:
- Endorsed by 350 businesses and organizations from across the state.
- 14 Colorado counties and municipalities have expressed their support for wilderness.
- A few years ago, over 14,000 Colorado residents signed cards in support of the wilderness areas proposed in our bill.
Read what some of Colorado Stake Holders are saying about the Colorado Wilderness’ Act:
"Colorado is world renowned for its beauty and wilderness. In poll after poll Coloradans have expressed support for protecting our public lands and understand the link between protected lands and our economic prosperity. There are thousands of acres of unique public lands which have awaited congressional action for too long. We applaud Congresswoman DeGette for championing these areas deserving permanent protection and appreciate her leadership and vision for conserving our remaining wilderness quality lands."
- Pete Maysmith, Conservation Colorado Executive Director
“The 2013 Conservation in the West Poll by Colorado College found very strong support for premier public lands as being an essential part of the state’s economy and necessary to attract high quality jobs and employers; three-fourths or more of Republicans, Independents and Democrats alike surveyed register such support showing land protection is not a partisan issue,”
- Prof. Walter Hecox, the Colorado College State of the Rockies Project faculty director
“Congresswoman DeGette’s protection of wilderness areas and open space is invaluable to the communities of color like those that Environmental Learning for Kids serves. We need more protection of these areas to make sure that people who have traditionally not had access to the beautiful Colorado outdoors will have places to go to watch wildlife, to fish, to camp and to just enjoy the solitude of nature. They are an invaluable resource and we appreciate the Congresswoman’s initiative to make sure that all people of Colorado are able to become stewards of our natural resources.”
- Stacie Gilmore, Executive Director of Environmental Learning for Kids