This is from the Denver Post editorial board:
There is no small amount of satisfaction to be had in last month’s federal approval of a locally crafted protection measure for the lovely area of Southwest Colorado known as Hermosa Creek.
We feel the need to pinch ourselves in disbelief that Congress could have found a way to approve something so constructive, with bipartisan support.
The best part about the Hermosa Creek protection act was that it was the product of robust local participation and debate.
Mountain bikers, conservationists, anglers, business owners, grazing permit holders and others hashed out a detailed plan that required some compromise, but was predicated on common goals.
The plan was like a custom-tailored suit that should serve as a template for other communities around the nation looking to preserve and protect special areas.
It was heartening from a national standpoint as well. In recent years, Congress has gotten so polarized that it has had difficulty coming to agreement on any land protection bills. Just about the only way to address such matters was to look to the president to use his powers under the Antiquities Act to declare national monuments.
And as beneficial as that process can be, a consensus-driven effort with local support is far better.
That’s what Colorado got with the Hermosa measure, which protects more than 100,000 acres of the creek’s watershed in the San Juan National Forest, just north of Durango.
The bill designates more than 70,000 acres as a special management area, which maintains historic uses such as mountain biking and grazing.
Another 38,000 acres will be set aside as wilderness and managed in accordance with the Wilderness Act of 1964. Hunting and fishing are allowed, but roads and mineral development are not.
The attention to detail that went into this plan, its respect for various uses and the ability to compromise displayed by those who crafted the measure are admirable and should be emulated.
Maybe someone could investigate how the bill handles NEPA for grazing?