Salazar decision a good model for wilderness

Interior Secretary Ken Salazarís recent decision to implement the first marine wilderness area in the western United States at Point Reyes National Seashore in California was news even here in the Rocky Mountain West. As a rancher and farmer in San Luis Valley, I understand firsthand the importance of public lands to rural communities and appreciate the secretaryís balanced approach.

Our wilderness areas offer some of the most special outdoor opportunities for recreationists, sportsmen and ranchers alike. The secretary underscored this in announcing his Point Reyes decision, encouraging visitors to enjoy the new wilderness area, while allowing for continued sustainable grazing where appropriate.

Now, Congress has an opportunity to model Salazarís approach. Several wilderness bills for Colorado presently are pending, including expansion of the San Juan Wilderness Area. I look forward to hearing about the progress of these efforts, which locals helped shape and enjoy bipartisan support. Only action by Congress is now required.

John Kretsinger


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