Michael Bennet U.S. Senator for ColoradoMenu
Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and U.S. Congressman Joe Neguse's Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy (CORE) Act protects approximately 400,000 acres of public land in Colorado, establishing new wilderness areas and safeguarding existing outdoor recreation opportunities to boost the economy for future generations.
Colorado counties, in close coordination with businesses, recreation groups, sportsmen, and conservationists, helped write each element of the CORE Act over the last decade.
Of the land protected, about 73,000 acres are new wilderness areas, and nearly 80,000 acres are new recreation and conservation management areas that preserve existing outdoor uses, such as hiking and mountain biking. The bill also includes a first-of-its-kind National Historic Landscape to honor Colorado’s military legacy and prohibits new oil and gas development in areas important to ranchers and sportsmen.
The CORE Act unites and improves four previously introduced bills: the Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness, and Camp Hale Legacy Act, the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act, the Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act, and the Curecanti National Recreation Area Boundary Establishment Act.
The Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness, and Camp Hale Legacy Act establishes permanent protections for nearly 100,000 acres of wilderness, recreation, and conservation areas in the White River National Forest along Colorado’s Continental Divide. It also designates the first-ever National Historic Landscape around Camp Hale to preserve and promote the 10th Mountain Division’s storied legacy. In crafting the bill, Senator Bennet and then-Congressman Jared Polis collaborated with community leaders, veterans, and businesses in Eagle, Summit, and Grand Counties.
The San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act provides permanent protections for nearly 61,000 acres of land located in the heart of the San Juan Mountains in Southwest Colorado. It designates some of the state’s most iconic peaks as wilderness, including two fourteeners: Mount Sneffels and Wilson Peak. The bill is the result of more than 10 years of collaboration among local leaders, businesses, and ranchers in San Miguel, San Juan, and Ouray Counties. It has passed out of both Senate and House committees with bipartisan support.
The Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act protects the Thompson Divide—one of Colorado’s most treasured landscapes—by withdrawing approximately 200,000 acres from future oil and gas development, while preserving existing private property rights for leaseholders and landowners. It also creates a program to lease excess methane from nearby coal mines, supporting the local economy and addressing climate change. Since joining the Senate, Senator Bennet has worked with ranchers, sportsmen, and elected officials to ensure the bill reflects the wishes of Gunnison, Pitkin, and Garfield Counties and local energy companies.
The Curecanti National Recreation Area (NRA) Boundary Establishment Act formally establishes the boundary for the Curecanti NRA. Although created in 1965, the boundary has never been designated by Congress, limiting the ability of the National Park Service to effectively manage the area. The bill improves coordination among land management agencies and ensures the Bureau of Reclamation upholds its commitment to expand public fishing access in the basin. Since 2011, Senator Bennet has worked closely with counties, federal agencies, landowners, and sportsmen to craft the bill.