Towering ponderosa pine in
the San Juan National Forest.
San Juan Citizens Alliance
The Value of Roadless Areas
Colorado's economy, quality of life, and environmental health all depend on the existence of protected roadless areas. Places like Thompson Creek in the White River National Forest and the HD Mountains of the San Juan National Forest have supported Colorado traditions of backcountry recreation for generations; these special places have safeguarded the purity of watersheds and the functioning of healthy ecosystems for far longer. As these areas are increasingly under threat of being overrun by unnecessary roads, it is important to understand the wealth of diverse values contained in this ever dwindling reserve.
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to Roadless Areas
Excessive, poorly-planned, and poorly-maintained roads can have devastating affects on the wide array of resources that Colorado's roadless areas provide. Roads fragment habitat and bring pollution, noise, and noxious weeds, which together rapidly eat away at the territory left safe for sensitive and big game species alike; roads bring erosion and siltification, scarring sensitive landscapes and muddying clear mountain streams; roaded and heavily-logged forests are more susceptible to insect infestation, disease, and wildfires which can threaten communities.
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The Roadless Rule and the Colorado Roadless Petition
In 2007, Governor Ritter presented a petition to the Forest Service requesting protection for roadless areas in Colorado as an "insurance policy" in case the regulation that had been protecting them is permanently repealed. The petition is based on recommendation made by a Task Force convened by the former Governor and the state legislature to determine the fate of Colorado's remaining roadless areas after the regulation that had been protecting them was temporarily repealed. In the meantime, nationwide roadless protection was reinstated but this could be overridden by the weakened protections in the Colorado petition.