Hermosa Creek is the largest area of contiguous national forest land in Colorado that has no roads that is not designated wilderness. A local community group makes a claim that it has the publics support for legislating the west side of Hermosa Creek to be wilderness, the east side a special management area. If you are in the majority of people who has not weighed in on this plan, Sen. Michael Bennet is calling for your feedback before he takes this bill to Congress. Go to http://bennet.senate.gov/ before June 30.
Why designate the west Hermosa as wilderness? The west side needs no help from people for it to be wild. It is steep and remote. A wilderness designation will draw national attention. It will outlaw chainsaws to clear trails. With the closing of livestock grazing allotments and a decline in local family hunting camps, this has ushered in an era of neglected trails.
What are we protecting in the west Hermosa? If it were suitable for logging, that would have happened by now. It is doubtful there are miners prospecting to work through a mountain of conflict and regulation to mine an area not known for mineral riches. We dont need a special designation in order for the Forest Service to wisely manage these steep trails as unsuitable for dirt bikes.
The east Hermosa special management area receives less protection where there are great concerns. Logging Dutch Creek has potential under this plan. Recreation use will know no bounds. Shrinking federal budgets guarantee less agency management.
Todays unmanaged recreation threatens big-game wildlife and hunter opportunity. Motorized recreationists refuse to honor that a portion of the Dutch Creek Trail is not open to them. Bicycle riders are using the Pinkerton-Flagstaff trail in May when there is mud and snow and elk are calving. Uncooperative recreation impacts livestock grazing management. Why is it difficult to leave a gate the way it is found? We all want a place to play, but we need to eat first. Lets not lose this perspective for managing public lands.
Sandy Young, Durango