Concern about an early and potentially explosive wildfire season in Colorado has fanned the flames of debate over how far into the national forest crews should build temporary roads to clear trees and reduce the fuel load around towns. The release last week of another draft of the controversial Colorado Roadless Rule further fueled the controversy. The rule would allow temporary road building a half mile into the national forest surrounding communities and tree thinning without roads another mile into the forest.
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Gov. Bill Ritter Wednesday will be in Vail – sometimes derided as an I-70 truck stop with a ski area – to sign a so-called “Roadkill Bill” meant to improve safety and reduce wildlife carnage along Colorado roadways. The bill-signing…
One of the least-publicized aspect of the mountain pine bark beetle epidemic, which has decimated nearly 2 million acres of trees in Colorado, is the threat it poses to the region’s power grid. Whole mountainsides of dead and toppling trees throughout the state raise the specter of disaster on the scale of the great Northeast Blackout of 2003.
While conservation groups called Wednesday’s federal appeals court decision reinstating the Clinton-era roadless rule a major victory, the state of Colorado contends its own revised rule is still a far more practical way of managing the state’s 4.2 million roadless acres.
Mike King, deputy director of Colorado’s Department of Natural Resources, said Wednesday that the 2001 Clinton rule, which provided sweeping protections against road building on nearly 60 million acres of largely undeveloped public lands nationwide, did not take into consideration wildfire mitigation or other critical economic drivers.