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Wilderness bill protects Colorado park

May 15, 2007 at 8:18 PM

FORT COLLINS, Colo., May 15 (UPI) -- A bill proposed by Colorado's congressional delegation would protect Rocky Mountain National Park by designating 94 percent of the land as wilderness.

Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said he began introducing wilderness bills when he became a state representative in 1999, but it wasn't until warring sides on the matter agreed on a deal concerning the Grand River Ditch that the measure got enough support, the Denver Post said Tuesday.

"I've never gone through labor but eight years is a long time," Udall said Monday. "Sometimes in the legislative world the stars will align."

The situation truly came to a head when the owners of the Grand River Ditch were sued in 2006 for allegedly damaging the park it resides in. While the lawsuit has not been concluded, state officials on both sides reached a compromise that would designate 250,000 acres of the park as wilderness while not affecting the ditch's business.

If the bill ultimately passes and becomes law, the Post said it would protect the national park from developers and loggers alike.

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