Coloradans of all political persuasions love the outdoors and are willing to go to great lengths to protect our wilderness, even if that means sacrificing their own enjoyment of the backcountry to ensure it’s protected.

Unfortunately, it’s our love of nature that oftentimes pushes elected officials to score political points by ramming legislation down our throats that may sound good, but in reality, is just as much a threat to that very landscape while crippling our own economy.

Colorado’s U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper have cobbled together a Frankenstein’s monster of wilderness wish lists, yet another national monument and restrictions on energy development by seemingly throwing darts at a map and drawing circles around 600,000 acres of land across the Thompson Divide, Camp Hale area, Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests.

Nicknamed the CORE Act, the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Economy Act, is so poorly planned and designed by these Democrat lawmakers, they can’t even convince a Democrat-controlled Congress to pass it.

For those just joining us from California, Colorado already has 3.7 million acres of wilderness areas where nearly every form of recreation is banned.

In fact, 36% of the entire state is federally managed land — that’s 24 million acres the government is already struggling to manage and protect (poorly) from forest fires.

The last thing Colorado’s high country needs is another fire hazard by locking up land from recreation and proper management.

But it’s an election year, and Bennet is so desperate to keep this job, he’s willing to throw caution to wind and watch more of Colorado burn.

Sean Paige writes in a must-read Gazette editorial that creating new wilderness and locking up land use is irrational and self-defeating when Colorado faces wildfire threats and a forest health crisis of biblical proportions.

The federal government can’t properly manage the millions of acres we’ve already given them, why on God’s green Earth would we give them more and throw in some energy development bans in the middle of an energy crisis?

Because Bennet faces a tough reelection fight.

So now, in a bizarre move apparently triggered by election year political pressures, CORE Act backers have all but abandoned the legislative process and are lobbying President Biden to do their jobs for them by imposing the bill’s key provisions through executive action. Not only does this sudden course change raise questions about the skills (or lack thereof) of the people we send to Congress. It also encourages Biden to do things though executive action that he may lack the power and constitutional prerogatives to do, undermining the system of checks and balances these lawmakers are sworn to uphold.


And from where does Biden get these God-like powers? The pushers of this plan, though they swore an oath to defend the Constitution, can’t be bothered quibbling over such trifles. They just want to get their way before an anticipated power shift in Washington makes passing the CORE Act even more challenging. Because they’re too impatient, ineffectual or inept to do the job legislatively, they want Biden to do their jobs for them, even if it means end-running the legislative bodies they were elected to.


Democrats talk a good game about the need to practice and protect “democracy.” But they turn oddly dictatorial when democracy doesn’t work for them

Read the rest of Paige’s column here. It’s a good education on policies that claim to protect Mother Nature but end up doing the exact opposite.