Tipton Responds to Community Concerns with Bill to Release Wilderness Study Areas

 Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) has introduced the Western Colorado Wilderness Study Area Release Act (H.R. 5570), a bill that would release acreage in Jackson, Mesa, and Delta counties from further consideration for designation as wilderness by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Specifically, the bill would release the North Sand Hills Instant Study Area in Jackson County, the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness Study Area in Mesa and Delta Counties, and the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness Study Area in Mesa County. The BLM cannot release the land without an Act of Congress.

The bill would also make the released acreage in Dominquez Canyon part of the non-wilderness component of the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area and the released acreage in Black Ridge Canyons part of the non-wilderness component of the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area.

County Commissioners in Jackson, Mesa, and Delta counties have thanked Tipton for his efforts and expressed their support for H.R. 5570.

James A. Murphy, Chair of the Board of County Commissioners of Jackson County, said, “The Board greatly appreciates your efforts to obtain Congressional approval for the release of the North Sands Hills Instant Study Area (ISA). The area does not have viable wilderness potential, and it is our opinion that the release of the ISA must be accomplished to facilitate an overall sound management plan for the area.”

Rose Pugliese, Chair of the Board of County Commissioners of Mesa County, said, “We appreciate Representative Tipton’s commitment to addressing the concerns of our community. Our Board adopted a resolution that called upon the Colorado Congressional delegation to introduce legislation to release all Wilderness Study Areas within Mesa County from such designation, to aid in our continued economic development efforts on behalf of our constituents, and we are pleased to see this progress.”

J. Mark Roeber, Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners of Delta County, added, “Delta County’s Board of Commissioners fully supports the efforts of Congressman Tipton’s enabling legislation for the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area and release of the Wilderness Study Areas into the National Conservation Area.”

Tipton thanked the BLM and affected counties for a cooperative process that produced a non-controversial bill.

“When it comes to federal land management, I support a balanced approach that includes respecting the environment that we all deeply value, while making the best use of our resources,” Tipton said. “These Wilderness Study Areas have been in land-management limbo for far too long, and I was happy to work with the BLM and Jackson, Mesa, and Delta counties to develop a solution that meets the needs of everyone involved.”