Crystal River Caucus changes Gems vote |

Crystal River Caucus changes Gems vote

The Crystal River Caucus voted recently to support Wilderness designation for four areas in the Hidden Gems Wilderness proposal and supported the position of the Thompson Divide Coalition, according to caucus vice chairman John Emerick.

The 65 members of the caucus voted by roughly 3-to-1 margins in separate votes May 13 to support Wilderness designation for the Assignation Ridge, Hays Creek, Crystal River Corridor and Hay Park areas, Emerick said. All of those areas are within the caucus locality.

In January, a vote to endorse the broader Hidden Gems proposal, which includes lands in Summit, Eagle, Gunnison and Pitkin counties, failed by a one-vote margin. The difference in the May vote was that the caucus just concentrated on areas within its boundaries.

The Hidden Gems proposal for Summit and Eagle counties is being assessed by U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, who will consider introducing a bill. Work continues for a proposal for Pitkin and Gunnison counties.

In another vote, Emerick estimated that 90 percent of caucus members voted to support the Thompson Divide Coalition, which seeks to stop oil and gas drilling in the Thompson Divide area southwest of Carbondale.