Proposed Colorado Roadless Rule Released for Public Comment

Release Date: Apr 14, 2011   U.S. Forest Service, Colorado Department of Natural Resources

Contact(s): U.S. Forest Service, Jane Smith, 303.275.5359, DNR, Todd Hartman, 303.866.3311x8665,

Proposed Colorado Roadless Rule Released for Public Comment


DENVER, April 14, 2011:  Regional Forester Rick Cables and Executive Director for the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Mike King  announced today the availability of the proposed Colorado Roadless Rule and revised Draft Environmental Impact Statement for public comment. 


The proposed rule reflects the interests of thousands of people across Colorado and  the country who contributed to the development of the Colorado Roadless Rule since it was initiated by a Governor’s task force in 2005.


“We thank U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and the U.S. Forest Service for continuing to work with Colorado and the many interested parties on this important rule,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “This has been a lengthy process, and we appreciate the extensive input by many stakeholders and the diligent efforts of my predecessor governors in shaping and refining this rule. We look forward to the public’s further comments on this draft.  After that input and any further refinements based on those comments and the state’s own review, we plan to work with the Forest Service to finalize a Colorado rule that will ensure this proposal safeguards our valued roadless areas while drawing the broadest range of public support.”


“All of us – – here in Colorado and across the country – – care deeply about our National Forests.  Developing a state–specific rule responds to the public’s desires to focus protection on roughly 4 million roadless acres throughout the state. Through five years of discussion and collaboration, we have developed this proposed rule. Now we are asking you to reflect on our proposal, as well as the alternatives, and tell us once more what you think," Cables commented.  


The proposed Colorado Roadless Rule:


  • Identifies more than half a million acres as ‘Upper Tier’ and put these acres into a higher category of protection;
  • Provides an updated inventory that represents a portfolio of higher–quality backcountry areas with true roadless characteristcs;
  • Provides special protection for the headwaters of cutthroat trout streams; and
  • Allows for limited road construction to facilitate the venting and potential capturing of methane – a potent greenhouse gas – a necessary requirement for the underground coal development in the North Fork coal mining area. 


The North Fork Valley accounts for 42 percent of Colorado’s annual coal production, generates 2,200 jobs and a total of $130 million in labor income.   In addition, the U.S. Forest Service and State of Colorado agreed to remove 8,300 acres from the Colorado Roadless Area inventory that were either part of an existing ski area permit, or part of an existing ski plan allocation area.


This current public comment period is the final opportunity for public input to the proposed Colorado Roadless Rule and Revised DEISUSDA Secretary Tom Vilsack will consider public input prior to making the decision on the final Colorado Roadless Rule and EIS, which is expected to be signed in late 2011.


The proposed Colorado Roadless Rule and Revised DEIS are available for review and comment online at: until July 14, 2011.  Also, visit the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region web site for more information at:


The USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region manages 17 national forests and seven national grasslands throughout Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and most of of South Dakota and Wyoming.


The Colorado Department of Natural Resources was created with a mission to develop, preserve and enhance the state's natural resources for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future citizens and visitors. The DNR includes nine divisions that oversee water, energy, parks, wildlife, mining, geology and state lands.

Key Contacts

Lawrence Lujan, 303-275-5346