Polis: Don’t expect Hidden Gems legislation anytime soon

BOULDER — Rep. Jared Polis says he won’t be taking a proposal to designate more than 340,000 acres of Colorado land as wilderness to Washington anytime soon.

After a series of constituent meetings, Polis hasn’t found a balance between recreationists and those advocating wilderness over the Hidden Gems Wilderness proposal. And he says he’ll take his time.

“This is our land. Let’s figure out how we can use it,” the freshman Democrat said.

The proposal aims to designate lands in Eagle, Garfield, Gunnison, Pitkin and Summit counties as protected by the Wilderness Act of 1964. The act allows non-motorized recreation, livestock grazing and scientific research. New mineral development, logging, ATVs and mountain bikes are banned.

Many environmentalists say a Hidden Gems Wilderness will protect precious habitat, including Red Table Mountain, a rugged 18-mile ridge east of Carbondale, for future generations. Opponents fear reduced access to popular recreation sites. Some people at a recent Polis forum in Edwards wore T-shirts reading, “Public land, public use.”


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