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U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, whose district includes Vail, issued the following press release on Friday’s passage of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act, or CORE Act:
As Chair of House Public Lands Subcommittee, Congressman Neguse Secures Passage of the CORE Act, Other Key Public Lands Provisions
Washington, D.C. — Today, Congressman Joe Neguse, as his first action as Chair of the U.S. House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, secured passage of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act, or the CORE Act, through the U.S. House of Representatives. The CORE Act, bicameral legislation led by Congressman Neguse in the House and Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper in the Senate, passed along with other key public lands provisions. The CORE Act would grow Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy and protect over 400,000 acres of public land across the state, establishing new wilderness, recreation, and conservation areas, and safeguarding existing outdoor recreation opportunities. The CORE Act is supported by a broad coalition of counties, cities, towns, local leaders, conservation groups, sportsmen, and a wide range of outdoor businesses.
“I’m thrilled that we were able to pass the CORE Act through Congress so early in the 117th Congress,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “The CORE Act was crafted by Coloradans over the last decade, and has support from local communities, conservationists, ranchers and anglers throughout our state. Last Congress, we were able to pass this legislation out of the House twice, and with the support of Senator Bennet and Senator Hickenlooper in the Senate, we look forward to getting it over the finish line this Congress.”
View Congressman Neguse’s remarks on the House floor in support of the bill here.
“Summit County is excited to see the CORE Act moving forward with the full support of our Congressional delegation Senator Bennet, Senator Hickenlooper and Congressman Neguse who we thank for their leadership and advocacy for our public lands. Public lands are the foundation of our economy in our community and drive our recreation economy. It is long past time for Congress to pass this bill, and we hope to see it signed into law soon,” said Elizabeth Lawrence, Summit County Commissioner.
“Now, more than ever, it’s time for the Senate to pass the CORE Act. We applaud the CORE Act for balancing the needs of wildlife and watershed protections with recreational and other uses of the forest,” said Kathy Chandler Henry, Eagle County Commissioner. “This collaborative legislative process has involved our water providers, conservation groups, recreational groups, and businesses. This important bill strengthens Colorado’s recreation economy and is supported by stakeholders throughout the state. The Camp Hale National Historic Landscape especially helps to preserve and highlight an incredible piece of history and the legacy of the Tenth Mountain Division in Eagle County. Our grandchildren will be grateful for these treasured additions in Western Colorado.”
“It’s fitting to see the CORE Act advance quickly this Congress, and that swift action is reflective of the strong support the legislation enjoys across Colorado. Communities have worked together for decades to shape the CORE Act into a broadly supported bill that bridges political divides. To help reach our nation’s goals of protecting 30% of our lands and waters, we must now work to get this bill through the Senate and to President Biden’s desk,” said Jim Ramey, Colorado State Director for The Wilderness Society.
“The Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act is essential to preserving the intrinsic, ecological, and social value of land in Centennial State,” said Lise Aangeenbrug, executive director of the Outdoor Industry Association. “It’s no secret in Colorado that the outdoor industry is a pillar of the state’s economy and way of life. Our members produce and sell products that enrich people’s lives by supporting healthy and active lifestyles and fostering a sense of stewardship for our natural resources, while providing billions of dollars in state and local tax revenue and accounting for a growing number of jobs. Through conservation legislation and partnerships between industry and the government, the outdoor recreation economy can continue to thrive and make the outdoors more accessible to all.”
Last Congress, Bennet and Neguse introduced the comprehensive CORE Act for the first time in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, following years of work on the ground in Colorado to develop, draft, and negotiate the four individual titles in the bill. In October 2019, Neguse secured passage of the legislation through the House of Representatives with bipartisan support. The CORE Act was later added to the House version of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, but it was not included in the final measure. In November 2020, Bennet secured a hearing on the bill in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and submitted written testimony in support of the bill.
The CORE Act combines four previously introduced Colorado public land bills, which have been in development over past decade: the Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness, and Camp Hale Legacy Act, the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act, the Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act, and the Curecanti National Recreation Area Boundary Establishment Act.
Of the land protected by the bill, about 73,000 acres are designated as new wilderness, and nearly 80,000 acres are designated as new recreation and conservation management areas that preserve existing outdoor uses, such as hiking and mountain biking. The bill also includes a first-of-its-kind designation for Camp Hale as a National Historic Landscape, to honor World War II veterans and Colorado’s military legacy, and prohibits new oil and gas development in areas important to ranchers and sportsmen in the Thompson Divide.