Nov 11, 2009 7:35 AM by Associated Press
U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall are sponsoring a bill to declare about 61,000 acres in southwestern Colorado as federal wilderness and special management areas. The proposal by the Colorado Democrats is a companion to one introduced last month by Colorado congressman John Salazar.
The San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act would designate 33,383 acres as federal wilderness, much of it by expanding existing wilderness areas. Nearly 22,000 more acres would be managed to preserve their wilderness characteristics while allowing some activities, such as access by helicopter for skiing.
Bennet says the bill strikes the right balance between preserving Colorado's landscape while protecting private property rights and providing opportunities for recreation.