Policy Update Oct 25, 2023

Position on S. 3033, S. 3044 & S. 3045

NPCA submitted the following positions to members of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources ahead of a hearing scheduled for October 25, 2023.

S. 3033 – Pecos Watershed Protection Act: NPCA supports this legislation, especially the benefits and protection it imparts on the water quality of the Pecos River – a crucial cold-water habitat suitable for cutthroat, brown and rainbow trout. The fishery at the Pecos River in Pecos National Monument is an important community resource and brings economic and educational benefits to the area. This legislation will protect the river from its headwaters in the Pecos Wilderness to its reaches further downstream in the community of Pecos and in Pecos National Monument by withdrawing the upper watershed from activities such as mining and appropriation and geothermal leasing, which would have direct adverse impacts on the water quality of the river downstream and land health of the watershed.

S.3044 – Mount Blue Sky Wilderness Act: NPCA supports this legislation to change the name of Colorado’s Mount Evans Wilderness to the Mount Blue Sky Wilderness as proposed by the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes. The change aligns with the U.S. Board of Geographic Names’ recent decision to officially rename Mount Evans to Mount Blue Sky. The Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park System, recognizes the atrocities committed by the U.S. Army against the Cheyenne and Arapaho in 1864, orchestrated by the then territorial governor John Evans. On November 29, 1864, U.S. soldiers killed 230 Cheyenne and Arapaho people at Sand Creek — most of them women, children, and the elderly. Shamefully, a year later, a prominent Colorado Front Range mountain was named Mt. Evans and in 1980 an additional 74,000 acres within this landscape was named the Mount Evans Wilderness area. For many years, the dishonorable name of this highly visited landscape has ignored the painful truth while perpetuating multigenerational trauma for the Cheyenne and Arapaho. The Mount Blue Sky Wilderness Act is a long overdue step toward honoring the Cheyenne and Arapaho, confronting our past and enhancing our public lands for future generations.

S. 3045 – To provide for the transfer of administrative jurisdiction over certain Federal land in the State of California: NPCA supports this legislation to exchange land parcels between the US Forest Service (USFS) and National Park Service (NPS) within the Ackerson Meadow area shared by Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park. Following a 2016 private donation, noncontiguous portions of Ackerson Meadow were acquired by Yosemite National Park. Both NPS and USFS have sought for years to exchange a checkerboard of parcels within the jurisdiction of each agency to ensure jurisdictional boundaries within Ackerson Meadow align more seamlessly with desired park and forest boundaries. This exchange would bolster local recreation, conservation and ecosystem rehabilitation opportunities in the meadow, and is supported by relevant ranching interests with forest service grazing allotments impacted by the current boundaries.