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Colorado Draft Roadless Rule Released

Photo by Kirk Siegler

The public has 90 days to comment on a draft rule that would extend protections to more than four million acres of roadless National Forest lands in Colorado. Only Colorado and Idaho have drafted their own state plans in the years since the Bush Administration overturned a 2001 rule protecting roadless national forests.  Throughout the more than five year planning process and amid conflicting court rulings over the national roadless rule, state officials have called their plan an insurance policy.


"Once again we find ourselves with a 90 day comment period and an opportunity to fine tune what we think is a fundamentally sound approach to managing roadless areas in Colorado," said Mike King, executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. 

The proposed rule also includes some exemptions for road building to treat beetle killed forests near communities, ski resort expansions and coal mining.  Environmentalists argue the rule doesn’t adequately protect some of the state’s most threatened forests.

Kirk Siegler reports for NPR, based out of NPR West in California.