Udall Bills to Promote Jobs, Protect Public Safety Pass Senate Committee
Public Lands Bills to Help Fire District, Boost Economy in Ski Communities Headed to Full Senate
Today, two of Mark Udall's public-lands bills were voted out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee: one for a Boulder County fire district's land exchange in the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest, and the other to allow the Forest Service to permit appropriate shoulder-season recreation in ski areas. The bills, re-introduced earlier this year, are now ready to be scheduled for a full Senate vote.
"Colorado’s ski communities have long asked for help to boost their off-season economies, which are hampered by an outdated law that restricts the types of recreation they can offer to tourists and locals. Meanwhile, the Sugar Loaf fire district is on the frontline of protecting people and homes from potentially devastating fires; they shouldn't have to be distracted by settling a protracted land dispute," Udall said. "Both of my bills try to offer smart solutions that make sense for these communities, and I'm proud they now have a chance to get before the Senate."
The first bill, the Sugar Loaf Fire Protection District Land Exchange Act, would allow the fire district in unincorporated Boulder County to secure the land beneath two of its three fire stations to facilitate expansion and increase flexibility for its training and operations. The fire district and the Forest Service have been unable to work out an agreement over exchanging acreage with the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest. Udall's bill would allow the fire district to put this land dispute to rest and focus on protecting the Sugar Loaf community from significant fire threats such as the Fourmile Canyon Fire last year.
The second bill, the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act, would authorize the Forest Service to permit appropriate year-round recreational activities beyond the alpine and Nordic skiing already allowed in ski areas on public lands. This would allow the ski areas to offer activities such as mountain biking and concerts during their shoulder seasons, thereby boosting tourism and bolstering economic stability in these communities throughout the year.
In May, Udall had pushed for both bills to get a hearing in the ENR Committee's Public Lands Subcommittee. Watch the hearing HERE.