Best, NF Recreation - High Country News - Printable -...

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High Country News -- Printable -- January 17, 2000: STOP - A national f. .. http://www.hcn.org/servlets/hcn.PrintableArticle?article_id=5483 1 of 12 4/21/2008 7:59 AM www.hcn.org To receive two free issues of High Country News call 1-800-905-1155, or visit: http://www.hcn.org/freepapersubscription.jsp STOP - A national forest tries to rein in recreation feature article - January 17, 2000 by Allen Best Colorado hasn't been this contentious about its forests since 1907, when Gifford Pinchot himself had to stare down insurgents assembled in Denver. It's a different cast of characters now: Here on Colorado's White River National Forest, it's not cattlemen, lumbermen and miners who are bellyaching - it's recreationists. On a forest that stretches from the Continental Divide, just an hour's drive westward from Denver's expanding suburbs, into the heart of western Colorado, the Recreating West has rushed in hard on the heels of the Extractive West. Sightseers and mountain bikers have shooed off the lumbermen and appropriated old logging roads. And every hunting season, all-terrain vehicle drivers blaze new trails onto the land. Hikers, cross-country skiers and snowmobilers every year make it more of a year-round playground, while downhill skiers account for 7.5 million visits a year. All this recreation is beating up the White River, which covers almost 4 percent of Colorado. Now, instead of accommodating every request that walks in the door, the Forest Service's Proposed Revised Land and Resource Management Plan seeks to reassert loyalty to the land itself. But with many users, the agency's preferred alternative is not going down well. In Edwards, Colo., 115 miles from Denver, at a meeting of some 30 builders last month, talk swirled nervously around the White River National Forest and its draft plan. Eagle County Commissioner Tom Stone pointed to a map that identified in red every road the plan would close. Running across the 3,700 square miles of national forest, the red lines looked like a cardiovascular diagram in Gray's Anatomy. Backcountry skiers, the bulk of the state's ski areas, dirt bikers - all face restrictions, he said. Why?
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High Country News -- Printable -- January 17, 2000: STOP - A national f. .. http://www.hcn.org/servlets/hcn.PrintableArticle?article_id=5483 2 of 12 4/21/2008 7:59 AM "Politics," explained the county commissioner. "The decisions are being made back in Washington," Stone insisted, and "they don't care because there's just eight electoral votes from Colorado." A real estate salesman told the builders that if the White River plan is adopted, it will make "remodeling contractors' out of them. Another real estate agent muttered that the plan will turn the forest into a drive-by forest - -a tree museum." A builder warned, "Did you know that the road to Thomasville will be closed?" A regular donnybrook The Thomasville road won't be closed. But the rumors have taken on a life of their own. No main roads will be closed; side roads will. The forest plan envisions decommissioning 22 miles
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Best, NF Recreation - High Country News - Printable -...

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