A rancher in the Hermosa Creek Watershed.
Credit: Jeff Widen.
Within the San Juan National Forest, the Hermosa Creek Watershed encompasses the largest unprotected roadless area in the Southern Rocky Mountains, 17 distinct ecosystems and major elk and deer habitat. It’s no surprise that sportsmen and other outdoor aficionados have rallied behind the cause to protect it.
The Hermosa Creek area is popular among cyclists. Credit: Jeff Widen.
Legislation to protect this unique place has been introduced in both the Senate and House of Representatives. A bill from Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO) and Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Mark Udall (D-CO) would designate about 37,000 acres of the watershed as federally protected wilderness, with another 70,000 acres as a “special management area.” The bill would allow all current uses of the land to continue, including hunting, fishing, backpacking and snowmobiling-evidence of a highly collaborative process that involved sportsmen, cyclists, ranchers, hikers and others.
Despite a homegrown process and broad local support, the bill is “moving at a snail’s pace” through Congress due to partisan gridlock. It currently awaits markup in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and House Natural Resources Committee.
Now is the time to preserve places like Hermosa Creek for future generations. Watch this video on what makes Hermosa Creek so special and let your member of Congress know how you feel.