Watering down the wilderness | AspenTimes.com

Watering down the wilderness

Although we are always excited when wilderness receives legislative attention, Rep. McInnis’ Red Table Mountain wilderness proposal falls far short.

Eloquently defined in the 1964 Wilderness Act as a place where the “imprints of man are substantially unnoticeable?” the visionary concept of wilderness has been upheld for almost four decades.

Wilderness is a place where people can explore the land in its natural condition, find solitude, escape the motorized mayhem of urbanized society, and recreate using human power.

Rep. McInnis’ vision for wilderness includes motorized corridors for dirt bikes and ATVs (on routes that are closed to motorized use in the White River National Forest Plan), helicopter landings and maneuvers, and streams starved for water.

No one benefits from “watering down” the Wilderness Act. Wilderness in name but not in fact is unacceptable.

If Rep. McInnis is not behind the idea of wilderness, then he should not propose it; if he is, then he should propose meaningful legislation that respects the concept of wilderness as firmly established in the Wilderness Act.

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