Press Releases

Hickenlooper, Bennet, Neguse Introduce Bill to Expand Sarvis Creek Wilderness

Mar 20, 2024

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet, along with Representative Joe Neguse, introduced the Sarvis Creek Wilderness Completion Act, new legislation that would expand the Sarvis Creek Wilderness Area in Routt National Forest by 6,817 acres, protecting sub-alpine wilderness habitats and wildlife while providing increased access to outdoor recreation. 

“The Sarvis Creek Wilderness is a destination for outdoor recreation and an ecological gem, with a pristine landscape that is close to Steamboat Springs,” said Hickenlooper. “Expanding its preservation protects Colorado lands and grows our outdoor rec economy!”

The legislation:

  • Fulfills the community’s vision for the entire Sarvis Creek wilderness area by adding 6,817 acres on to the existing 44,556 acres, which had originally been excluded due to a previously-proposed plan to develop a ski area.
  • Extends wilderness protection to the Harrison and Green Creek watersheds—rare, pristine sub-alpine regions that feed into the Yampa River, safeguarding aquatic resources and preserving water quality.
  • Protects winter range and spring calving areas for the 250-300 elk that inhabit the area in addition to habitats for other native Colorado fish and wildlife.
  • Provides easy public access from Steamboat Springs and Stagecoach for low impact recreation—including hunting, fishing, back-country skiing and hiking.

“Colorado’s public lands are a cornerstone of our Western way of life, and for decades, this Northwest Colorado landscape has deserved further protection. Local elected officials, outdoor recreation, agriculture, water and environmental leaders came together to craft this legislation that protects critical watersheds, enhances wildlife habitat and safeguards outdoor exploration for Coloradans. I’m grateful for Senator Hickenlooper’s leadership on this bill, and I look forward to helping move this forward in the Senate,” said Senator Bennet.

“For years, I’ve been proud to work alongside Senators Hickenlooper and Bennet to ensure critical protections for our state’s treasured outdoor spaces. And today, I’m thrilled to once again join forces as we introduce legislation that expands the Sarvis Creek Wilderness – located in the Routt National Forest – by over 6,000 acres,” said Congressman Neguse. “It is critical that we take the necessary steps to preserve our public lands in Yampa Valley and protect local wildlife for generations to come. And as the Ranking Member on the Federal Lands Subcommittee, I’m committed to getting this bill across the finish line.”

Support for the legislation:

“The expansion of Sarvis Creek expands outdoor opportunities for Coloradans, protects important wildlife habitat, and safeguards important water resources in our Western Slope. This is important for future generations, and I appreciate Senator Hickenlooper’s leadership on this issue,” said Governor Polis

“The Routt County Commissioners are very pleased to see the introduction of the Sarvis Creek Wilderness Completion Act into the United States Congress. This expansion fulfills the original vision for the Sarvis Creek Wilderness and will work to preserve an intact primitive ecosystem,” said Commissioner Tim Corrigan. “This designation is supported by Routt County’s Master Plan emphasizing open space and the preservation of natural resources, ecosystem services and wildlife. The Routt County Commissioners want to express our appreciation to Senator Hickenlooper for taking the lead to ensure this pristine area will remain forever wild. We’d also like to acknowledge the local advocates who remain devoted to seeing Sarvis Creek Wilderness completed.”

Jim Ramey, Colorado State Director for The Wilderness Society: “The Steamboat Springs community has long advocated for the completion of the Sarvis Creek Wilderness by adding lands that provide essential wildlife habitat, clean water that flows into the Yampa River, and a scenic backdrop cherished by locals. We applaud Sen. Hickenlooper and Rep. Neguse for their leadership in heeding the calls from the community to protect these important public lands.”  


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