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Continental Divide Wilderness Area & Recreation Act

Published: June 5, 2015

Representative Jared Polis introduced the Continental Divide Wilderness Area and Recreation Act to preserve 58,000 acres of wilderness and recreation lands in Summit and Eagle County on May 21st.  In February, Polis was recommended to serve as a member on the House Natural Resources Committee and has been busy introducing conservation proposals since a committee chair was granted.

The Continental Divide Wilderness Area and Recreation Act will serve as protection to areas located along the Continental Divide in both Summit and Eagle County.  The bill will also establish preservation and protection for the surrounding landscape and wildlife.  Wildlife found in these areas includes black bear, elk, mule deer, big horn sheep, moose, lynx and wild turkeys.

Proposal specifics include the creation of new wilderness and recreation areas in the Williams Fork Mountains, Tenmile Range and Hoosier Ridge, while expanding already existing areas in Holy Cross, Eagles Nest and Ptarmigan Peak.  The Continental Divide Wilderness Area and Recreation Act will also includes implementation of the new Tenmile Recreation Management Area, a 11,500-acre space that will assist in the enhancement of outdoor opportunities including fishing, biking, hiking and backcountry winter sports.

“The areas that stretch along the Continental Divide in Summit and Eagle counties are the iconic playground of our state,” said Polis.  “They are where Coloradans and out-of-state tourists alike go to ski, hike, mountain bike, hunt and fish, among many other activities and this bill will ensure they are preserved for future generations to enjoy.”

Outdoor recreation is an extremely important factor for the Colorado economy, driven by 125,000 jobs within the field and contributing $13.2 billion in spending each year.  Colorado visitors partake in a wide range of outdoor activities including mountain biking, fishing, hiking, camping, snowmobiling, skiing and snowshoeing.  Better access to the areas addressed by the Continental Divide Wilderness Area and Recreation Act are predicted to increase the frequency of visits and in turn will positively impact the states economy!


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