WHEREAS under the Wilderness Act of 1964 wilderness areas are created by designation of the U.S. Congress; and
WHEREAS by the authority of several subsequent Acts of Congress, federal land management agencies have also created “Wilderness Study Areas”, sometimes designated by Congress, sometimes at the request of various interest groups, and sometimes at the instigation of the agency itself; and
WHEREAS such study areas are intended to be studied, to determine whether including them in the national wilderness preservation system would be appropriate, and Congress is supposed to act upon recommendations by the agency; and
WHEREAS the law requires that once a study area is designated it must be managed as wilderness until Congress acts upon it, and no time limit has ever been placed on this management; and
WHEREAS many such areas have become controversial so that Congress has not acted upon them, often for many years, leaving any economic resources within those areas “permanently” off-limits, while also denying official wilderness status to areas which may be deserving of that protection; and
WHEREAS the result is that Western Colorado has become home to millions of acres of de-facto wilderness areas created not by Congress, but by un-elected land managers,
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that CLUB 20 supports legislation limiting the time for wilderness study status, and releasing areas back to multiple-use if not acted upon by Congress within a reasonable time, not to exceed ten years.
(Formerly 97-9 PL 1)