Colorado BLM going wild?

  The Bureau of Land Management has announced that an additional 167,000 acres of public land in western Colorado are eligible for wilderness status. When the BLM's roadless lands were first surveyed in 1980, 800,000 acres in western Colorado were given protection as potential wilderness areas. The new acreage may now be added to these existing wilderness study areas, a status that will protect them from new oil and gas leasing, motorized recreation, road building and similar activities. Although wilderness study area designation is a long way from permanent wilderness status, environmental groups are pleased by the BLM's announcement. "We're really glad the BLM is taking another look." says Tina Arapkiles of the Sierra Club's Boulder office. "Colorado was a different place when the first inventory was done." But Greg Walcher, president of Club 20, a regional chamber of commerce in western Colorado, believes the resurvey was unnecessary and was undertaken only because of "some environmental group from Boulder demanding (the areas) be rereviewed." Written comments concerning future management of these roadless areas may be submitted by April 9 to the following BLM offices: 455 Emerson St., Craig, CO 81625-1129; P.O. Box 1009, Glenwood Springs, CO 81602; 2815 H Road, Grand Junction, CO 81506; or 73544 Hwy. 64, Meeker, CO 81641.

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