Summary: S.1029 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Senate agreed to House amendment with amendment (10/08/1992)

Colorado Wilderness Act of 1992 - Designates certain lands in Colorado as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System.

Transfers administrative jurisdiction over certain designated lands from the Bureau of Land Management to the Forest Service.

Repeals Federal law and amends the Endangered American Wilderness Act of 1978 with respect to the study of certain potential wilderness areas.

Redesignates the Big Blue Wilderness, together with specified additions thereto made by this Act, as the Uncompahgre Wilderness.

Establishes the Fossil Ridge Recreation Management Area, to be composed of specified national forest lands in Colorado. Withdraws such lands from all forms of entry, appropriation, or disposal under the public land laws; from location, entry, and patent under the mining laws; and from disposition under the mineral and geothermal leasing laws.

Prohibits: (1) timber harvesting within such area, except for any minimum necessary to protect the forest from insects and disease and for public safety; and (2) the construction of developed campgrounds within such area. Permits motorized travel within such area only on designated trails and routes existing as of July 1, 1991.

Establishes the Bowen Gulch Protection Area in the Arapaho National Forest in Colorado. Applies the same restrictions concerning land withdrawal, campground development, and timber harvesting for the Fossil Ridge Recreation Management Area to the Protection Area. Permits motorized travel within such area only on designated trails and routes existing as of July 1, 1991, and only during periods of adequate snow cover. Authorizes mechanized, non-motorized travel (e.g. bicycles) at all other times. Requires the Forest Service to develop a management plan for the Protection Area, after providing for public consultation.

Prohibits the President and any other employee of the United States from issuing a license or permit for the development of any new water resource facility, or the enlargement of any water resource facility, within specified areas described in this Act.

Directs: (1) the Secretary of Agriculture to allow reasonable access to water resource facilities in existence on the date of enactment within specified areas, including motorized access where necessary and customarily employed on routes existing as of such date; and (2) the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior to monitor the operation of and access to specified water resource facilities and take all steps necessary to implement these provisions.

Specifies that nothing in this Act: (1) or in any previous Act designating lands as wilderness, shall be construed as limiting or modifying any of the interstate compacts or equitable apportionment decrees that apportion water among and between Colorado and other States; and (2) except as expressly provided in this section, shall affect or limit the development or use by existing and future holders of vested water rights of Colorado's full apportionment of such waters.

Sets forth various restrictions on rights including one barring the Secretary or any other officer, employee, or agent of the United States from asserting in any court or Federal agency, or considering any claim or defense asserted by an individual based upon such rights, which may be determined to have been established for waters of the North Platte River to the extent such rights would limit the use or development of water within Colorado, subject to specified requirements.

Withdraws (subject to valid existing rights) certain lands in the Piedra, Roubideau, and Tabeguache areas of specified national forests from all forms of location, leasing, patent, disposition, or disposal under the public land, mining, and mineral and geothermal leasing laws of the United States. Specifies that such areas shall not be subject to any obligation to further study such lands for wilderness designation.

Specifies that: (1) until the Congress determines otherwise, and subject to provisions of this Act, activities within such areas shall be managed by the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior so as to maintain the areas' presently existing wilderness character and potential for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System; (2) livestock grazing in such areas shall be permitted and managed to the same extent and in the same manner as of the date of enactment; and (3) except as provided by this Act, mechanized or motorized travel shall not be permitted in such areas (but the Secretary may permit motorized travel on trail number 535 in the San Juan National Forest during periods of adequate snow cover).

Requires the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior to compile data concerning the water resources of such areas, and existing and proposed water resources facilities affecting such values.

Directs the Secretary: (1) within three years, to report to specified congressional committees on the status of private property interests located within the Spanish Peaks Further Planning Area of the Pike-San Isabel National Forest in Colorado; and (2) for a period of three years from the date of enactment, to manage the Spanish Peaks Further Planning Area as provided by the Colorado Wilderness Act of 1980.