Tipton should support wilderness act

Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018 3:57 PM

In a recent article in the Herald, Congressman Tipton’s communications director was quoted saying, “While some would claim that there is broad consensus for this legislation [the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act], we have heard many people raise concerns that it would interfere with water rights and recreation access.” (“San Juan wilderness bill receives hearing in Senate committee,” Aug. 22).

Since its inception in 2008, the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act has evolved into a bill that will protect 60,000 acres of wildlands.

What began as a 100,000-acre proposal has been reduced over many years of collaboration and compromise to gain the broad support that the bill now enjoys throughout the many diverse communities involved.

For Congressman Tipton’s office to disregard the years of hard work and the many adjustments that resulted in the current bill is to discount the ingenuity and good faith of stakeholders ranging from miners to the recreation community to counties that rely on healthy public lands for our economic viability.

Many areas of the original proposal were eliminated despite their wilderness-worthy qualities in order to accommodate specific interests.

If full support by every constituent were needed to pass a wilderness bill, Colorado would have none of the wilderness that defines our character.

In this case, years of working with diverse stakeholders has resulted in a bill that does, indeed, have broad support. Water rights have been resolved. Recreation groups have come together.

Congressman Tipton should support the decade of work that has gone into creating this balanced bill.

Joan May, San Miguel County commissioner