Durango, CO – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet asked for Coloradans’ feedback on his draft bill to legislatively protect more than 100,000 acres of the Hermosa Creek Watershed, an area in the San Juan National Forest north of Durango. Bennet will use the feedback to improve the Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act before finalizing the bill.
“With the input of Coloradans and those deeply connected to the Hermosa Creek Watershed, I hope to protect some of southwest Colorado’s most magnificent landscapes, while sustaining a source of economic growth and job creation in the community for generations to come,” said Bennet. “I encourage any and all comments to improve the bill, so we can ensure it accomplishes its goals.”
The Hermosa Creek Watershed is renowned for its beauty, magnificent vistas, wildlife and the economic, job-creating activity the landscape generates for local communities. This remarkable set of forested valleys and crystal clear streams has been long treasured by the residents of the Animas Valley. The diverse Hermosa Watershed contains soaring alpine peaks and some of the most pristine and wildest ponderosa pine and aspen forests in all of Colorado. Sportsmen make the trek from across the country to enjoy mountain fishing for native cutthroat trout and unparalleled backcountry elk hunting.
In 2008, a group of local stakeholders known as the Hermosa Creek Workgroup came together to discuss future management of this unique area. Bennet has drafted his bill based on the recommendations of this group, which includes local water officials, conservationists, sportsmen, mountain bikers, off-road-vehicle users, outfitters, property owners, grazing permit holders and other interested citizens.
To read the bill, see pictures of the area and submit comments on the draft bill, Coloradans can visit http://bennet.senate.gov/hermosacreek/, or click the link to the page on Bennet’s homepage. The comment period will run through June 30.
The launch of this comment period comes on the heels of Bennet’s hike of the Hermosa Creek Watershed with his family and outdoor enthusiasts over Memorial Day weekend. In April, Bennet penned an op-ed for the Durango Herald announcing a path forward for the management of the watershed. In an editorial last week, the Durango Herald commended Bennet’s draft bill and the efforts of the Workgroup.