Legislation proposed to prevent development near national park
September 11, 2014
A legislative push is under way at the federal level to ensure a small strip of land between Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) and Arapaho National Forest (ANF) is protected from future development.
The proposed legislation would incorporate the strip of land, called "the wedge" into the ANF. It would add a single parcel of land within the wedge to the Bowen Gulch Protection Area, and would allow the secretary of Agriculture to acquire privately owned lots within the wedge.
The legislation, introduced on June 11 by U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, is titled the Arapaho National Forest Boundary Adjustment Act of 2014 (HR 4846).
Rep. Polis testified on Sept. 9, before the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation. The proposed legislation would incorporate 10 parcels of land between RMNP and ANF.
The land in the wedge, located north of Grand Lake, is undeveloped. The wedge sits between the Bowen Gulch Protection Area in ANF and RMNP. The U.S. Forest Service owns seven of the 10 parcels of land. The Rocky Mountain Nature Association owns one parcel. Private individuals, Todd Hammerlund and Bruce Wood, own the two other parcels in the wedge.
Both Hammerlund and Wood, as well as adjacent land owner Alan Keeffe, sent letters to Rep. Polis to be presented during subcommittee testimony supporting the legislation.
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The legislation is awaiting action in the House Committee on Natural Resources. The congressional session will end soon and Rep. Polis's Washington D.C. office indicated they were unsure if the Natural Resources Committee would take up the legislation before the session ends.