Survey says: Go wild!

  Most supporters of wilderness are just espresso-sipping urbanites, right? Not so, according to a survey of 500 Colorado voters, released in April by a coalition of environmental groups. "We're talking about four out of five Coloradans," says Elise Jones of the League of Conservation Voters' Boulder office. "These are pretty bomb-proof numbers." The poll, conducted by Talmey-Drake Research, an independent consultant, found that support for expanded Bureau of Land Management wilderness areas hovered around 80 percent on both the Front Range and the Western Slope. About 800,000 acres of BLM land in Colorado have interim wilderness protection, and the agency has been collecting public comments on an additional 167,000 acres in western Colorado that are now eligible for wilderness status (HCN, 3/2/98). Colorado environmental groups want to see more than 1 million BLM acres protected as wilderness, and Jones says the poll proves it's a popular idea throughout the state. Not everyone is on board, however: A resolution before the state Legislature would stop the BLM from providing temporary protection to land being considered for wilderness status. For more information about the survey, contact the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund in Boulder at 303/442-6986.