Rep. Scott McInnis, R-Colo., surprised Congress and environmentalists in November when he introduced legislation to designate 49,800 acres of land in northwestern Colorado as the Red Table Mountain Wilderness. The bill included provisions for motorized recreation trails, helicopter training by the Colorado National Guard, and guaranteed water rights for the nearby town of Gypsum.
Richard Compton of the White River Conservation
Project says the provisions are “totally unacceptable”
and “don’t fit with wilderness values” —
especially the proposal’s inclusion of a motorcycle trail
that bisects the area.
McInnis introduced his bill when
it was too late for Congress to consider it and just as
redistricting this month will move the Red Table Mountain area out
of his district and into that of Rep. Mark Udall, D.
Compton says the proposal is simply a political strategy in
preparation for future battles over the land, which lies in the
much fought-over White River National Forest (HCN, 1/17/00: The
White River National Forest). “McInnis wants to make sure his
concerns are noticed up front.”
maintains that his intentions are pure. “The congressman has
represented the area for almost 20 years,” says
McInnis’ press secretary, Blair Jones. “And he wanted
to see it protected.”