Senator Michael Bennet today introduced legislation that would protect one of Colorado’s most revered landscapes – the Hermosa Creek watershed on the San Juan National Forest.
The “Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act” would protect more than 100,000 acres of incredible wildlife habitat and a recreation haven for hikers, mountain bikers and sportsmen. The legislation is co-sponsored by Senator Mark Udall.
The legislation would protect the entire Hermosa Creek watershed as a special management area, ensuring that its unique natural and recreational features would be preserved for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations. The bill would also designate a major new Wilderness area within the watershed, thus ensuring that the unique wilderness resource would be forever protected.
“By introducing this legislation, Senator Bennet is protecting one of the best parts of Colorado,” said Jeremy Garncarz, senior director of the Wilderness Support Center at The Wilderness Society. “This legislation is community-driven and crafted, and reflects the diverse wants and needs of Durango and the people of southwest Colorado.”
The Hermosa Creek watershed offers breathtaking views, and contains some of Colorado’s more pristine old-growth ponderosa pine forests, which provide critical wildlife habitat for species such as the Canada lynx and native trout.
The Act would preserve public access to the Hermosa Creek watershed for high quality outdoor recreation by preventing inappropriate road construction, logging, and mining.
The proposal is the result of a comprehensive two-year process of research and negotiations by the Hermosa Creek Workgroup, a collaborative forum made up of an array of diverse stakeholders.
The Wilderness Society is working to ensure that Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act moves forward in Congress this year. Senator Bennet’s legislation joins over two-dozen wilderness bills that await passage in Congress.