Citizens’ group endorses Hidden Gems proposal |

Citizens’ group endorses Hidden Gems proposal

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

BATTLEMENT MESA, Colo. – The Hidden Gems Wilderness Proposal was endorsed by the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance at its general membership meeting in Battlement Mesa on Tuesday night.

The alliance gets involved in issues that affect life in western Garfield County. It has a membership of 168 area residents, and is a chapter in the broader Western Colorado Congress.

The Hidden Gems plan has evolved into a controversial battle between Wilderness advocates and forest user groups that want to preserve existing access to public lands. The proposal would place a special designation on about 400,000 acres in Pitkin, Eagle, Garfield, Summit and Gunnison counties. About 1,600 acres targeted by proponents are located in Garfield County.

A coalition of environmental groups, headed by Wilderness Workshop of Carbondale, hopes to earn Congressional approval for the proposal. They are attempting to build support among user groups and local governments for the plan. Opposition has surfaced because the Wilderness designation prohibits motorized and mechanized uses.