Wild, scenic designation possible for parts of Colorado River, creek

The U.S. Forest Service is moving ahead on a proposal to determine whether parts of the Colorado River and Deep Creek are suitable candidates for inclusion in the national Wild and Scenic River System.

The Colorado River Water Conservation District, however, is looking at ways to fend off such a designation.

“We’re working on coming up with something that protects the values that make them eligible for wild and scenic designation without imposition of all the federal controls,” said Chris Treese of the river district.

The river district is hoping to preserve flexibility and greater local control on the management of those waters, Treese said.

Deciding whether stretches of river are suitable for such designations is the last step before the agency decides whether to ask Congress for the designation.

The two segments of the Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon and two segments of Deep Creek already have been determined to be eligible for inclusion.

The Forest Service is working with the Bureau of Land Management in considering the stretches of the creek and river because designation could affect both agencies.

The study could continue through 2009 before the federal agencies decide whether to recommend action by Congress, said Pat Thrasher, spokesman for the White River National Forest.

Waterways can be designated wild or scenic or recreational.

Public participation in the process begins Thursday with a meeting in Glenwood Springs.


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