More nature in Colorado: U.S. Senate committee hears 2 bills for

Legislation moves forward to protect the Dolores River, the San Juan Mountains, the Thompson Divide and the Curecanti National Recreation Area

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On July 12, 2023 the Senate subcommittee on Energy and Natural Resources met to hear testimony about two bills that, if passed, would protect more nature in Colorado. Both S. 636, the Dolores River National Conservation Area and Special Management Area Act, and S. 1634, the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act, were presented by Senator Michael Bennet. He praised the people of Colorado who helped to develop and write the bills that he and Senator John Hickenlooper have introduced, and emphasized his gratitude for the “thoughtful bipartisan collaboration.”

Sen. Bennet recounted a family trip to Dolores River, the beauty of the area, and the bravery and commitment of the rafting guides. He called the Dolores River the “lifeblood of Western Colorado, supplying water to our farmers, our ranchers, our outdoor recreation enthusiasts.”

Coloradans have been working to develop the CORE Act for more than a decade. This bill will conserve “over 420,000 acres of public lands”. Sen. Bennet had numerous letters in support of both bills. 

Sen Hickenlooper used his time addressing the witness panel to ask how the National Conservation Area (NCA)  designation of Dolores River will help the Bureau of Labor Management (BLM) protect the land. Mr. Thomas Heinlein from the BLM responded that their ability to aid in conservation efforts would be enhanced by the NCA designation. The other witness, Mr. Christopher French from the National Forest Service, spoke on the CORE act and expressed his support of the bill.

We urge Senators to vote for both of these bills and help us protect more nature in Colorado.


The Dolores River flows for more than 200 miles through southwestern Colorado, starting high in the San Juan Mountains and descending to its confluence with the Colorado River near the Colorado-Utah border.Photo by Bob Wick, BLM | CC-BY-2.0


Ellen Montgomery

Director, Public Lands Campaign, Environment America

Ellen runs campaigns to protect America's beautiful places, from local beachfronts to remote mountain peaks. Prior to her current role, Ellen worked as the organizing director for Environment America’s Climate Defenders campaign. Ellen lives in Denver, where she likes to hike in Colorado's mountains.

Hannah Jaffe

Environment Colorado Intern

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