Hidden Gems Wilderness Campaign Moving Forward in Colorado

In early June, Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) held public forums on a Wilderness proposal called the Hidden Gems Wilderness. This proposal will designate 379,000 acres of public land as Wilderness in the White River or Gunnison National Forest, such as the Flattops, Basalt Mountain, Red Tables, Thompson Creek and other areas.

With the Wilderness bill (Omnibus Public Land Management Act) signed into law last year, that prohibited off-highway vehicle (OHV) use on over 2 million acres, Congress appears emboldened to continue pressing for passage of even more Wilderness bills that would take away additional OHV trails enjoyed responsibly by you, your friends and family.

Colorado is facing an onslaught of Wilderness bills. There was a hearing on H.R. 4289, the Colorado Wilderness Act of 2009, introduced by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO). The bill will designate 34 areas totaling 850,000 acres as Wilderness, including 72,397 in Handies Peak, 20,025 in Browns Canyon and 38,594 at Redcloud Peak. Just weeks before, there was another hearing on H.R. 3914, the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act of 2009, introduced by Rep. John Salazar (D-CO). That bill will inappropriately designate 44,000 acres of U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and private land as federally protected Wilderness. These Wilderness designations will make the land off limits to OHV enthusiasts.

3.5 million acres are already designated as Wilderness in Colorado and by a stroke of a pen these pieces of legislation propose to increase Wilderness by another 1,273,000 million acres without local input of those who recreate responsibly on that land.

Now is the time to stop the Hidden Gems Wilderness Campaign before it becomes legislation!

The AMA needs your help to stop the Hidden Gems Wilderness Campaign in its tracks. The fastest way to reach your Representative is to call them. You can find contact information for your elected officials at AmericanMotorcyclist.com > Rights > Issues & Legislation, then enter your zip code in the "Find your Officials" box. A prewritten e-mail is available for you to send to your federal elected official immediately by following the "Take Action" option and entering your information.

The AMA encourages its members to utilize the media as a communication tool. The media can be helpful in getting our message out to the public or drawing attention to our concerns regarding the Hidden Gems Campaign. To find and contact local or national media outlets, click here. For tips on drafting a letter to your local newspaper editor, click here.

For more information about how to protect your right to ride, please visit the "Get Involved" section of the AMA web site. For direct access, click here.

We urge you to write or call your Representative today and ask them to oppose the Hidden Gems Wilderness Campaign. Also, please forward this alert to friends and family to help spread the message as rapidly as possible.

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