Senate Committee Advances Bennet Bill to Protect Land Wedged between Rocky Mountain National Park and Arapaho National Forest

Bipartisan Bill Incorporates Land into Arapaho National Forest

Washington, DC - The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today advanced a bill introduced by Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet that would protect ten parcels within a "wedge" of land between Rocky Mountain National Park and Arapaho National Forest by incorporating the land into Arapaho National Forest. The Arapaho National Forest Boundary Adjustment Act of 2015, cosponsored by Senator Cory Gardner, passed by a voice vote.

"These parcels of land are part of a spectacular landscape that attracts millions of visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park and Grand County. They are also crucial for the continued protection of the Colorado River headwaters," Bennet said. "Adding this land to the Arapaho National Forest allows us to preserve it for future generations and helps ensure the Forest Service can manage this land more effectively."

The Forest Service currently owns seven of the ten lots that comprise the "wedge." The Forest Boundary has never been adjusted to include them within the Arapaho National Forest because that would require legislative action.

The bipartisan bill also allows the U.S. Forest Service to acquire land in the "wedge" from interested landowners to preserve the region.

This bill is supported by the Grand County Board of County Commissioners, the Town of Grand Lake, the Headwaters Trails Alliance, and Conservation Colorado, along with all of the affected private landowners. It was sponsored in the House of Representatives by Congressmen Jared Polis and Scott Tipton. That bill passed the House on April 28 with an overwhelming majority.

The committee also approved another bill led by Gardner and cosponsored by Bennet. The Crags, Colorado Land Exchange Act is a federal land exchange where the Forest Service would acquire an important inholding in the Pike National Forest, allowing for more recreation access near Pikes Peak.

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