Hidden Gems Wilderness Proposal - We're Under Attack, Again!

This was posted in the Land Use forum, but I want to be sure that every Colorado rider is aware of it. Please take the time to contact the Colorado representatives!



Dear BRC Supporters in Colorado,

This is a HIGH PRORITY update.


Flush with funding from wealthy donors and foundations in Washington D.C., a group called the Wilderness Workshop is pushing for 600,000 acres of new Wilderness in Colorado by next year.


Mountain bike, snowmobile and OHV users will lose world-class trails and areas. This proposal would make over 75% of the Four Mile, Clear Fork, Spruce Mountain, Basalt Mountain, Red Tables, Hagerman Pass, Huntsman's Ridge and Thompson Creek areas Wilderness.


This Hidden Gems proposal appears to be much more than the typical "wish list" from the Wilderness activists. BRC confirmed with the Natural Resource staff for Representative Jared Polis that, although there is no bill at this time, Representative Polis is holding meetings and talking to stakeholders. The goal is to have draft legislation prepared soon.

Local staff for Representative Salazar, whose district also includes lands in the Hidden Gems proposal, said that at this time they had no immediate plans to sponsor or co-sponsor the Hidden Gems proposal.

Congressman Salazar is concentrating on his own Wilderness bill, called the ''San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act." This legislation includes 63,475 acres on the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, Gunnison and San Juan National Forests, as well as lands managed by the San Juan Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Resource Area.


Please call your Congressman TODAY. We've provided the phone numbers and some suggestions on what to say below.

EXTRA CREDIT: Learn what this and a Wilderness bill in Montana may have in common. Read Big Foundation Dollars Behind "Local" Wilderness Proposals in Colorado and Montana.

Please pass this on to friends and family. And as always, if you have any questions or comments, we want to hear from you.

Brian Hawthorne

Public Lands Policy Director

BlueRibbon Coalition

208-237-1008 ext 102

PS. If you are looking for a bit of motivation to take action on this, please take a minute and read a special message from Sean Martin:


Step 1. Type in your zip code here to find contact info for your congressman.

Step 2. Call the number of the office located nearest to you. BE POLITE

Tell the staff member who answers your call:

I strongly OPPOSE the Hidden Gems Wilderness Proposal that Congressman Polis is considering sponsoring (make sure the staff is clear on your opposition).

There is no serious threat to these lands. If there were, then recreation-friendly alternatives, such as a National Recreation Area, would be a better idea than Wilderness, which locks out most recreation.

Please tell the Congressman that I want him to protect FOR the public, not FROM the public.

Step 3. Forward this alert to your friends and family.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you live in Delta, Eagle, Garfield, Gunnison, Mesa, Pitkin or Summit County, please also call your county commissioners. (Contact information here)

The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. It represents over 10,000 individual members and 1,200 organization and business members, for a combined total of over 600,000 recreationists nationwide. 1-800-258-3742. http://www.sharetrails.org

__________________________________________________ ____

email sent. for those of us in eagle county here is a link to our commissioners. BLM has closed some of my favorite trails this summer already and now this? It's gonna take along time to tear down all the closed signs they put up!!!!


I recieved this email from a friend last night. I can't make the meeting but thought some of you would like to.

There is a meeting tomorrow – Wednesday at 7pm at the Carbondale Town Hall - Room 2 - for the Hidden Gems - this is open to the public - please come and voice your opinion!! They are trying to hold these meetings secretively so no public comment is available – come and stand up for your rights.

If this passes – no dirt biking, mountain biking, snowmobiling, jeeping, four wheeling and the list goes on! Check out the websites below and come to the meeting to get the facts for yourself.

Hope to see you all there and please spread the word!

man im on this like stink on shat! ive written many emails already today and just finished one to the eagle county commissioners. they actually replied and ask what i would lose if this proposal became law. im sick of the eco blowholes around here! this proposal would close 600,000 acres of colorado land - crazy.

You ALL should read the guest opinion in the Aspen Times (theaspentimes.com) today from Sloan Shoemaker the director of the Wilderness Workshop (eco group heading up the Hidden Gems Campaign) to see what we are up against. We are now known as "Land-churning off-road vehicle" groups. These people frighten me. They have been working behind the scenes for the last few years to get this bill proposed. The group leading the charge against the eco nuts can be found at www.whiteriverforestalliance.com. Let your voice be known

The rumor has it aslo that signs went up on our favorite trails on Basalt mountain this week. I am heading up there today to see for myself.

i submitted letters to the aspen and vail newspapers, senators, polis, and eagle county commissioners. it sounds like if we cause enough controversy this bill has a good chance to get scraped. squeaky wheel gets the grease.

everyone please help by writing a short letter to politicians and newspapers. i have one you can copy and paste if you want - just PM me.

600,000 acres are up for grabs.

i just received this reply from Mark Udall. I wrote him voicing my concerns pertaining to the hidden gems proposal.

"Thank you for contacting me about a wilderness proposal called "Hidden Gems." While I am aware that this proposal has been made by a number of groups in Colorado and that some of my colleagues in the Congress may be working on it, this is not a bill that I or my staff have been involved in drafting.

As a long-time proponent of wilderness and the author of several successful Colorado wilderness bills, I will certainly examine this latest proposal. Rest assured that I will not support any legislation unless and until it has addressed a number of issues such as boundary lines, water rights and facilities, National Guard helicopter training activities, forest health management, and local community support.

I intend to work with you, other interested stakeholders, and my colleagues in the Congress on these issues if this proposal is advanced.

I will continue to listen closely to what you and other Coloradans have to say about matters before Congress, the concerns of our communities, and the issues facing Colorado and the nation. My job is not about merely supporting or opposing legislation; it is also about bridging the divide that has paralyzed our nation's politics. For more information about my positions and to learn how my office can assist you, please visit my website at www.markudall.senate.gov. "

Anyone know if this is being talked about in the mountain biking community? They may make a good ally in this fight.

Anyone know if this is being talked about in the mountain biking community? They may make a good ally in this fight.

Yes, some are talking about it. What they don't understand is that this will effect the Roaring fork valley in a big way. The pro-wilderness website that trys to dispense myths says that only obscure and seldom used trails will be closed....bullshite....trails will still be closed no matter how obscure and unused they are. We need to fight this...post something up on your facebook status about how wilderness restricts uses to multiple user groups, not just motorized vehicles.



I call him Mark "useless".

If anyone doubts what Utah could become, simply pull out a recent map of the Gunnison National forest.

Yes, some are talking about it. What they don't understand is that this will effect the Roaring fork valley in a big way. The pro-wilderness website that trys to dispense myths says that only obscure and seldom used trails will be closed....bullshite....trails will still be closed no matter how obscure and unused they are. We need to fight this...post something up on your facebook status about how wilderness restricts uses to multiple user groups, not just motorized vehicles.



here are two groups on facebook opposed to HD.

Say NO to the Hidden Gems Wilderness Campaign.

White River Forest Alliance / Keep Colorado Public Lands Open

so today i read in the vail daily that the bonehead Ralston who had to cut his arm off with a dull knife a couple years ago near Aspen climbing alone is now supporting hidden gems.


Ralston and crew will be submitting a petition to Colorado Senator Michael Bennet.

I went to Bennets website and ask him not to support the HD proposal. You can do the same here.


I said the proposal is selfish and it alienates the majority of users who enjoy CO public lands.

Done, this has got to stop!

earlier today i wrote senator Michael Bennet stating my view on HD - here is his reply.

"Thank you for contacting me regarding wilderness areas in Colorado and the Hidden Gems Wilderness proposal. I appreciate hearing from you.

As you may know, the Hidden Gems Wilderness proposal seeks to designate new wilderness areas—making additions to the White River and Gunnison National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands—in western Colorado.

As we manage our federal lands, we must take steps to ensure that our most sensitive natural ecosystems are protected. I have been a strong supporter of wilderness areas and our national parks in Colorado. For example, I recently supported S.RES.244, a resolution commemorating the 45th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Earlier this year, I joined Senator Mark Udall in circulating a joint letter to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies requesting funding support for America’s National Parks.

While I know the importance of protecting our most precious special landscapes and sensitive natural habitats nationwide, I also understand the concerns raised by local stakeholders and recreational enthusiasts that federal legislation could impede on the needs and wishes of Coloradans. I will keep your concerns in mind as I continue to represent the interests of Colorado with a balanced approach—making use of our resources without destroying the natural beauty around us.

For more information about my priorities as a U.S. Senator and about issues of importance to Colorado and our nation, I invite you to visit my website at http://bennet.senate.gov/. Again, thank you for contacting me.


Michael Bennet

United States Senator"

letter i receive from White River Forest Alliance.

"Subject: Good News!!! Keep up the good work everybody!

Dear members and supporters,

The White River Forest Alliance is pleased to announce that the Mesa County Commissioners have adopted and signed a resolution opposing the Hidden Gems Wilderness Campaign. The resolution, MCM 2009-175, was adopted and signed on Monday the 28th of September 2009. There are 17,000 to 20,000 acres of the Hidden Gems wilderness proposal located in within the borders of Mesa County. For the full resolution please see the attached file to this email.

What does resolution MCM 2009-175 really mean?

What this resolution really means is that the Mesa County Commissioners do not support the Hidden Gems Wilderness Campaign or any legislation it might lead to.

What does this mean to all of us?

First off, this is a huge victory for us. If we can get more counties to take similar stances it will help our cause greatly.

Here are just a few things you can do to help with that.

Please contact County Commissioners in Eagle, Delta, Gunnison, Pitkin and Summit Counties and tell them your personal stories and reasons why you are opposed to the Hidden Gems Wilderness Campaign. Your personal stories are very important. If you want, you can include something like you were impressed to hear that Mesa County took a strong stand with a resolution opposing the HG proposal.

Wilderness Workshop or the Hidden Gems people are going to these counties saying there is no opposition to their proposal or that they are working with the stakeholders etc... We must continue to make our voices heard.

What we need people to do now is to continue creating awareness and education within the public, help get people more informed. Please do your best to understand the proposal and how it affects you and Western Colorado in general.

In Garfield County, Commissioners Martin and Sampson have come out against the Hidden Gems Wilderness but Commissioners Houpt remains neutral at this time. Please continue to let her know how you feel.

Please read and share this information with others. Pass it on to all you know.

Once again, thank you for your time and support, you have no idea how much good you all are doing.


Tony Fisher


White River Forest Alliance


Please take the time to do the poll on the Aspen Times web site. It is at the at the bottom of page, here is the link.


Thanks for the links. It makes it so much easier to write letters and vote , etc. That poll showed 94% NO votes. Keep up the good fight EVERYONE!!! Don't leave it to a few. When someplace gets shut down some riders say "Well I'll just go someplace else". Well those someplace else's have been getting shut down 1 at a time also. We used to be able to ride Top of the World and Goose Creek, Lost Creek and into the Sangre De Cristos and a lot of other places that are now closed to motors. Let your voice be heard! And don't whine to me when your area gets closed.


I like the comment on the bottom of the results page.

Please take the time to do the poll on the Aspen Times web site. It is at the at the bottom of page, here is the link.


Done!!! 92.73% NO. Keep em coming!!!

Thanks for the link knucklehead!!! :busted: Gas for you. Keep the info coming!!


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