Press Releases

Angie Paccione Signs Pledge Supporting Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness Designation - 9/12/2006

For Immediate Release: September 12, 2006
Contact: James Thompson
(970) 222-6397

Angie Paccione Signs Pledge Supporting Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness

Marilyn Musgrave opposes wilderness designation because she is beholden to special interests and powerful politicians like Congressman Richard Pombo.


ESTES PARK—State Rep. Angie Paccione, candidate for the Fourth Congressional District, held a press conference today outside Estes Park Town Hall during which she signed a pledge to support wilderness designation for Rocky Mountain National Park. (Text of the pledge is below.)

Paccione also revealed the real reason her opponent, Marilyn Musgrave, is opposed to wilderness designation legislation sponsored by Senator Ken Salazar and Congressman Mark Udall.

“Marilyn says she has concerns about wilderness designation, but every concern she cites is based on myths perpetuated by the special interests opposing wilderness designation. The fact is that she is beholden to special interests and powerful politicians, and she has turned her back on the people of her district,” Paccione said. “House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo wants to make sure there’s access for logging and mining in the Park, and Marilyn is doing his bidding by not signing on to the legislation.”

Paccione, joined by over 50 local supporters of wilderness designation, distributed a fact sheet exposing Musgrave’s “concerns” as bogus and based on myths (see text of fact sheet below).

“Every local government, every newspaper editorial board, and every local citizen—virtually everyone in Colorado is in favor of wilderness designation except for Marilyn Musgrave,” Paccione said. “Marilyn needs to stop caving in to special interests and powerful politicians like Richard Pombo and start listening to the people of her district.”

RMNP Wilderness Designation Fact Sheet

In a recent op-ed, Marilyn Musgrave claimed to oppose wilderness designation for Rocky Mountain National Park (H.R. 3193) based on the following myths.

Myth: Musgrave wants to “preserve” Rocky Mountain National Park.

Fact: Musgrave is beholden to House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-CA):
• Pombo is opposed to wilderness designation unless it permits access for logging and mining [Outside Magazine, May 2006]
• In August, Marilyn Musgrave explained to the Estes Park Trail Gazette: “I talked to the Chairman of the Resources Committee (Richard Pombo, R-CA) regarding what does wilderness designation mean.” And that, “. . . when something is designated a wilderness, it restricts access. We need to be well aware of what that means.”[Estes Park Trail Gazette, August 16, 2006]

Myth: Environmental concerns such as bark beetle infestation & fire danger.
• “As an official wilderness area, common sense options such as surveying the damage from an airplane, cutting down infected trees and removing dead timber would be prohibited . . . tourism would die.”
• “Also, there is inadequate information to show how the economy would be affected if park managers are not able to adequately extinguish fires. The regulations are so restrictive in wilderness areas that dropping water from airplanes to douse the flames would be prohibited. ”

Fact: The Wilderness Act anticipates environmental crises Musgrave is invoking, and authorizes the necessary measures. See 16 USC 23 § 1133(d)(1): “In addition, such measures may be taken as may be necessary in the control of fire, insects, and diseases, subject to such conditions as the Secretary [of the Interior] deems desirable.”

Myth: Harm to water Rights & the Grand Ditch.
• “The designation could threaten the Grand Ditch, which predates the creation of the park, and the 40,000 acres of irrigated farmland in northern Colorado served by the ditch. Re-designating the area as an official wilderness threatens to harm the business that has maintained water infrastructure inside the park for decades and farmers in northern Colorado who depend on it. An agreement was inserted into law long ago that helps farmers and the area company by allowing vehicles and equipment inside the park so maintenance can be performed on the irrigation infrastructure.”

Fact: HR 3193 § 2(d)(1) explicitly excludes the Grand Ditch from the wilderness designation. Also, § 3(b)(1)(c) explicitly forbids the US from claiming further water rights based on wilderness designation:“...there is no need for this Act to effect a reservation by the United States of any additional water rights.”

Myth: Blocking new picnic areas.
• “Even having the option to add picnic areas or a future education center should be preserved in law.”

Fact: Since developed picnic areas are only constructed in the front country, wilderness designation would not affect this. Nor would wilderness designation harm improvements to trails and campsites in the back country. Both front and back country improvements have been occurring for decades under wilderness management policies.



Whereas, Rocky Mountain National Park is one of Colorado’s and one of America’s premier national parks, and deserves to be protected for future generations of Americans; and

Whereas, Rocky Mountain National Park is a worldwide destination for millions of tourists annually, and is a critical part of the local economy in Estes Park and Northern Colorado; and

Whereas, wilderness protection has long been an important part of America’s heritage, and has been shown to both enrich our quality of life and enhance the value of our natural surroundings; and

Whereas, Rocky Mountain National Park is already managed as if it were a wilderness, and designating the Park as wilderness will have no adverse impact on local stakeholders or on park projects and maintenance; and

Whereas, all local stakeholders, government entities, and organizations have come out in support of wilderness designation for Rocky Mountain National Park:

Be it resolved that I, Angie Paccione, as Congresswoman for Colorado’s Fourth District, will support, advocate for, sponsor, and vote for legislation declaring official wilderness designation for Rocky Mountain National Park.

State Representative Angie Paccione


Senator Ken Salazar
Congressman Mark Udall
Congresswoman Diana DeGette
Congressman John Salazar  
State Senator Bob Bacon
State Senator Brandon Shaffer
State Senator Ron Tupa
State Representative Alice Madden
State Representative Angie Paccione
State Representative James Riesberg
Boulder County Board of Commissioners
    Commissioner Tom Mayer
    Commissioner Ben Pearlman
Commissioner Will Toor

Grand County Board of Commissioners
Commissioner Duane Dailey, Chairman 
Commissioner James Newberry 
Commissioner Nancy Stuart

Larimer County Board of Commissioners
Commissioner Glenn Gibson
    Commissioner Kathay Rennels
Commissioner Karen Wagner

Town of Estes Park
Mayor John Baudek
Mayor Pro-Tem Bill Pinkham
    Trustee Eric W. Blackhurst
Trustee Dorla Eisenlauer
    Trustee Richard Homeier
Trustee Chuck Levine
Trustee Wayne Newsom

Town of Grand Lake
Mayor Judy M. Burke
Mayor-Pro Tem Aron Rhone
Trustee Pat Engelhardt
Trustee Glenn Harrington
Trustee Kathy Lewis
Trustee Jim Peterson
Trustee Tom Weydert

Town of Winter Park
Mayor Nick Teverbaugh
Mayor Pro-Tem Jim Myers
Councilor Jimmy Larhman
Councilor Mike Periolat
Councilor Chris Seemann
Councilor Vince Turner
Councilor Kajsa Wiberg

American Lands Alliance
Backcountry Snowsports Alliance
Biodiversity Conservation Alliance
Center for Native Ecosystems
Colorado Environmental Coalition
Colorado Mountain Club
Colorado Trout Unlimited
Colorado Wild
Colorado Wilderness Network
Colorado Wildlife Federation
Environment Colorado
Headwaters Trails Alliance
High Country Citizens' Alliance
International Mountain Bicycling Association
League of Conservation Voters
League of Women Voters of Estes Park 
Quiet Use Coalition
Rocky Mountain Recreation Initiative
Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter
San Juan Citizens Alliance
San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council
Southern Rockies Ecosystem Project
Upper Arkansas and South Platte Project
Western Colorado Congress
Western Resource Advocates
Western Slope Environmental Resource Council
White River Conservation Project
Wildlands Center for Preventing Roads
The Wilderness Society
Wilderness Workshop



 Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave
Congressman Richard Pombo
Senator Wayne Allard



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Paid for by Angie Paccione for Congress