Colorado Recreation Enhancement and Conservation (REC) Act
“Colorado’s Third Congressional District is home to some of the most cherished public lands in the country, and we must ensure responsible management and protection of them. The Colorado REC Act is intended to balance the unique needs and desires of various stakeholders that I have met with in recent years, and I hope to be able to build broad consensus around this bill as it moves through the legislative process.”
- Rep. Tipton
Colorado REC Act At a Glance:
Section 1: Sangre De Cristo Wilderness Act
- Expands the Sangre De Cristo Wilderness Area to provide permanent protections for 40,038 acres of land located within the Rio Grande National Forest.
- Allows the Department of Agriculture to engage in forest management activities that will help prevent catastrophic wildfires, including management projects that address insect and disease infestations.
- Will add additional protections for the sensitive ecosystem around the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve while also enhancing the area’s outdoor recreation economy.
Section 2: San Juan Mountains Recreation and Wilderness Act
- Provides permanent protections for approximately 60,000 acres of land located within the San Juan Mountains.
- Designates approximately 30,000 acres of new wilderness near Telluride, Norwood, Ouray and Ridgeway.
- Designates approximately 20,000 acres between the towns of Ophir and Silverton as the Sheep Mountain Special Management Area.
- Preserves historic recreation uses within the Sheep Mountain Special Management Area.
- Designates approximately 790 acres near Telluride as the Liberty Bell East Special Management Area.
Section 3: Curecanti National Recreation Area Act
- Formally establishes the boundary for the Curecanti National Recreation Area (NRA).
- Transfers jurisdiction over the majority of the Curecanti NRA to the National Park Service, while ensuring the Bureau of Reclamation maintains jurisdiction over the three dams in the area.
- Preserves historic recreation uses within Curecanti NRA.
Section 4: Colorado Land Management and Recreation Act
- Releases over 39,000 acres of Wilderness Study Areas (WSA) and an Instant Study Area (ISA) in Southwest and Northern Colorado that have been determined to be unsuitable for wilderness designations.
- The Montezuma and Dolores Counties WSA Release Act would release five WSAs to allow for the counties and the BLM to better manage noxious weeds within the WSAs and protect nearby communities from catastrophic fire events. The WSAs included for release are: Weber Mountain, Menefee Mountain, Cahone Canyon, Cross Canyon, and Squaw and Papoose Canyon (Colorado portion only).
- The North Sand Hills ISA Release Act would allow for the North Sand Hills ISA located in Jackson County, Colorado, adjacent to the North Sand Hills OHV Area, to be released and managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act.
Section 5: Yucca House National Monument Boundary Revision Act
- Revises the boundary of the Yucca House National Monument to allow for the voluntary donation of 160 acres of property adjacent to the monument.
Sangre De Cristo Wilderness Act
- Proposed Overview Map
- Proposed Northern Addition Map
- Proposed Southern Addition Map
- Proposed Blanca Peak Addition Map
San Juan Mountains Recreation and Wilderness Act Maps
- Proposed Designations Map Overview
- Proposed Last Dollar and Liberty Bell Additions
- Proposed Lizard Head Additions
- Proposed McKenna Peak Additions
- Proposed Naturita Canyon Mineral Withdrawal
- Proposed Sheep Mountain Special Management Area
- Proposed White House Additions
Curecanti National Recreation Area Act
Yucca House National Monument Boundary Revision Act Map
In the News:
Not everyone has the matching visions for public lands: some interest groups want more lands designated as wilderness or more Wilderness Study Areas, while some local governments want lands withdrawn from such areas, Tipton said.
It [REC Act] was drawn from conversations with his constituents in his 3rd Congressional District over a long period.
“We've had a lot of feedback over the course of the years of concerns in terms of public management, access to lands, protections people would like to see and we're trying to address this across the 3rd Congressional District,” Tipton said.
Tipton's Colorado REC Act calls for expansion of the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness near the Great Sand Dunes by about 40,000 acres and it also calls for more protections for about 60,000 acres of land in the San Juans, near Telluride, Ouray and Ridgway. It would also establish the boundary for the Curecanti National Recreation Area, and transfers most of the management to the National Park Service in the area.
Tipton said he looks forward to receiving feedback from local stakeholders who he expects to have a wide range of opinions. “We think this is a good, balanced approach specific to the 3rd Congressional District,” Tipton told The Durango Herald.
The Colorado REC Act discussion draft is just that – a discussion draft. Throughout the month of August, I am seeking feedback on the text that can be incorporated to make the bill a strong, balanced public lands package for the Third Congressional District of Colorado.