High Elk Corridor may get funding boost
U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard announced Tuesday that he has taken a step toward securing another $500,000 for the High Elk Corridor, located in the White River National Forest between Aspen and Crested Butte. Allard, a Colorado Republican, is a member of the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee; the funding is provided in the fiscal year 2006 Interior Appropriations bill. Once the bill is passed by the Appropriations Committee, it will go to the Senate floor to be considered by the full Senate.”The rugged mountain country of the High Elk Corridor is well-known for its natural beauty, but it is also the site of unique historic and ecological resources,” Allard said in a news release issued by his office. “With the help of willing sellers, a supportive local community and a partnership with the Trust for Public Land, we can make sure that the High Elk Corridor is preserved for future generations.”The corridor includes almost 6,000 acres of privately owned mining claims within the boundaries of the White River National Forest. Locals would recognize the area as stretching from the ghost town of Gothic near Crested Butte through a subalpine mountain valley and the mining ghost towns of Schofield and Crystal, including the historic Crystal mill above the town of Marble.The Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation nonprofit organization, announced in February that it had acquired 82 mining claims in the area, meaning 771 acres have been protected thus far.The trust is negotiating with willing sellers throughout the corridor to purchase both land and easements, focusing on properties that have been identified as high priority – about 2,500 of the most vulnerable acres. The total estimated value of these key lands is about $6.5 million.For more information on the trust’s fund-raising effort to secure the corridor, visit http://www.tpl.org/highelk.