|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||October 26, 2006|
|Contact:||Andrea Keller Helsel, NPCA, 202-454-3332|
NPCA Supports Salazar/Udall Bill to Protect Rocky Mountain Wilderness
The nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) yesterday joined nearly 150 residents at a hearing in Loveland, Colo., to testify in support of legislation sponsored by Sen. Ken Salazar and Rep. Mark Udall to designate 94 percent of Rocky Mountain National Park as wilderness—a designation first proposed by President Nixon in 1974.
In his testimony, NPCA Southwest Regional Director David Nimkin said that the Salazar/Udall bill supports "the promise and the current Management Policies for Rocky Mountain National Park for future generations." He also praised the "extraordinary public process that has engaged all the elected leaders of the park’s gateway communities," and cautioned that the competing bill has the potential to degrade park resources and "compromise the very meaning of wilderness."
Sen. Salazar and Rep. Udall introduced the Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness Act (S. 1510/H.R. 3193) in 2005; the legislation has been widely endorsed by the local community and conservationists. Late last month, Sen. Wayne Allard and Rep. Marilyn Musgrave introduced competing legislation (S. 3986/H.R. 6245), which NPCA feels would weaken existing protections for the national park.
In a letter sent this week to the Colorado congressional delegation, NPCA wrote that the bill sponsored by Sen. Allard and Rep. Musgrave "would serve to lessen current protections," and "could open the park to mining exploration, new water projects and road building to accommodate these new activities."