[Senate Report 106-460]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]

                                                       Calendar No. 907
106th Congress                                                   Report
 2d Session                                                     106-460


                         WILDERNESS ACT OF 2000


October 2 (legislative day, September 22), 2000.--Ordered to be printed


  Mr. Murkowski, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 4275]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the Act (H.R. 4275) to establish the Colorado Canyons 
National Conservation Area and the Black Ridge Canyons 
Wilderness, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon without amendment and recommends that 
the Act do pass.

                         PURPOSE OF THE MEASURE

    The purpose of H.R. 4275 is to designate the Colorado 
Canyons National Conservation Area, comprising approximately 
122,300 acres, and the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness Area, 
comprising approximately 75,550 acres, in western Colorado and 
eastern Utah.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    Located north and west of the rapidly growing city of Grand 
Junction in western Colorado, the Colorado Canyons and Black 
Ridge Canyons area in Mesa County, Colorado and Grand County, 
Utah, contain unique and nationally important features. The 
lands are diverse, ranging from pinyon juniper and sagebrush 
mesas to steep red rock canyons cutting into the landscape, 
forming natural arches, caves and alcoves. The Colorado Canyons 
area includes tremendous wildlife, scenic, recreational, and 
paleontological resources. Establishment of the Colorado 
Canyons National Conservation Area and the Black Ridge Canyons 
Wilderness Area seeks to protect and enhance these resources.
    Each year, more than 100,000 visitors use these public 
lands for a variety of recreational uses, including biking the 
Kokopelli Trail, hiking through and among the sandstone arches 
of Rattlesnake Canyon, floating the red rock canyons of the 
Colorado River, viewing the dinosaur quarries and experiencing 
the solitude of the wilderness. This recreational use is 
expected to increase as the population of Grand Junction and 
surrounding communities continues to grow. At the same time, 
more and more Americans are discovering public lands as the 
national interest in outdoor recreation continues to climb. 
This increasing demand for high quality recreational 
experiences can lead to unacceptable damage to fragile 
landscapes if those landscapes are not appropriately managed.
    The legislation will protect these fragile and important 
lands through special designations which formally establish 
long-term management objectives and describe the appropriate 
balance between traditional uses, such as grazing and 
recreation, and resource protection.
    Central to the landscape is the Colorado River, which is 
specifically excluded (up to the 100-year high water mark) from 
both the Wilderness and National Conservation Area designations 
because any claims on the River or its water could have an 
extremely significant impact on water rights in Colorado

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    H.R. 4275 passed the House of Representatives by voice vote 
and was referred to the Committee on Energy on Natural 
Resources on July 25, 2000. The Subcommittee on Forests and 
Public Land Management held a hearing on H.R. 4275 on September 
13, 2000. At the business meeting on September 20, 2000, the 
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources ordered H.R. 4275 
favorably reported without amendment.

                       COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS

    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in 
open business session on September 20, 2000, by a voice vote of 
a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass H.R. 4275 
without amendment.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1 describes the short title.
    Subsection 2(a) describes the findings of Congress.
    Subsection 2(b) describes the purpose of the Act.
    Subsection 3 defines key terms used in the Act.
    Section 4 designates the Colorado Canyons National 
Conservation Area encompassing approximately 122,300 acres of 
public land in the States of Colorado and Utah.
    Section 5 designates the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness 
encompassing approximately 75,550 acres in Mesa County, 
Colorado and Grand County, Utah to be managed as a component of 
the National Wilderness Preservation System.
    Section 6(a) directs the Secretary to manage the 
Conservation Area to conserve, protect and enhance resources in 
accordance with applicable laws.
    Subsection 6(b) directs the Secretary to allow only such 
uses that benefit the purposes of the Conservation Area.
    Subsection 6(c) directs the Secretary to withdraw the lands 
within the Conservation Area and Wilderness Area from public 
land laws and mining laws, subject to valid existing rights. 
Nothing in the Act affects the discretionary authority of the 
Secretary to grant, issue, renew rights-of-way or other land 
use authorizations.
    Subsection 6(d) permits motorized vehicles on designated 
roads and trail except for emergencies and administrative 
    Subsection 6(e) directs the Secretary to manage lands 
designated as wilderness by the Act in accordance with the 
Wilderness Act.
    Subsection 6(f) requires that hunting, fishing and trapping 
be allowed in accordance with State laws and provides that the 
heads of the Utah or Colorado Divisions of Wildlife or the 
Secretary can issue regulations to restrict these activities 
for reasons of safety, administration, public use and 
    Subsection 6(g) requires the Secretary to issue and 
administer grazing permits on lands in the Conservation Area in 
accordance with applicable laws and within the Wilderness in 
accordance with provisions of the Wilderness Act and guidelines 
set forth in Appendix A of House Report 101-405 of the 101st 
    Subsection 6(h) directs the Secretary to complete a 
management plan within 3 years which describes appropriate 
uses, considers existing information, provides for continued 
management of a utility corridor, considers historical 
involvement of local community and includes all public lands 
between the boundary of the Conservation Area and the edge of 
the Colorado River.
    Subsection 6(i) describes Congress's intent that no buffers 
around the Conservation Area or Wilderness be created or that 
no activity on private lands up to the boundary be precluded.
    Subsection 6(j) directs future acquisitions of private 
inholdings be acquired by donation, exchange or purchase from 
willing seller and be managed in accordance with the Act.
    Subsection 6(k) permits the Secretary to establish minimal 
interpretive facilities in cooperation with others as 
appropriate to protect resources.
    Subsection 6(l) describes water rights.
    Paragraphs (1) and (2) documents Congress's findings in 
regards to water rights, notes that nothing in the Act 
constitutes reservation of a water right, affects any water 
rights, establishes a precedent with regard to future 
conservation area or wilderness designations of affects 
existing interstate compacts or apportionment decrees.
    Paragraph (3) directs the Secretary to follow requirements 
of the law of the State of Colorado to obtain new water rights.
    Paragraph (4) prohibits the Secretary to fund, assist, 
authorize or permits new water resources facilities within the 
wilderness area, except existing facilities may be used, 
operated, maintained and modified as needed.
    Paragraph (5) states neither the conservation area or 
wilderness area includes the Colorado River within their 
boundaries and notes the Act does not affect the Secretary's 
authority to manage recreational uses of the Colorado or manage 
use of the lands between the Colorado River and the boundary of 
the conservation area. The Secretary is directed to withdraw 
the lands between the Colorado River and the boundary of the 
conservation area from public land laws and mining laws, 
subject to valid existing rights.
    Section 7 directs the Secretary to prepare a map for the 
conservation area and wilderness area, and permits corrections 
for clerical and typographical errors. The map is required to 
be available to the public. In the case of discrepancy between 
the map and the descriptions in the Act, the map shall control.
    Section 8 directs the Secretaries to establish an advisory 
committee in accordance with applicable law to advise in 
regards to preparation and implementation of the management 
plan and describes the representation to be included.
    Section 9 directs the Secretary to continue to allow access 
to private inholdings for private landowners and public access 
to Glade Park, Colorado.

                   cost and budgetary considerations

    The following estimates of costs of the measure has been 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office.

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                Washington, DC, September 27, 2000.
Hon. Frank H. Murkowski,
Chairman, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 4275, the Colorado 
Canyons National Conservation Area and Black Ridge Canyons 
Wilderness Act of 2000.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Felix 
                                          Barry B. Anderson
                                    (For Dan L. Crippen, Director).

H.R. 4275--Colorado Canyons National Conservation Area and Black Ridge 
        Canyons Wilderness Act of 2000

    Summary: H.R. 4275 would establish the Colorado Canyons 
National Conservation Area on about 122,300 acres of federal 
land in Colorado and Utah. The legislation also would designate 
the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness, consisting of about 75,550 
acres in those states.
    CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 4275 would cost about 
$3 million over the 2001-2005 period, assuming appropriation of 
the necessary amounts. Enacting this legislation could affect 
offsetting receipts (a form of direct spending); therefore, 
pay-as-you-go procedures would apply, but CBO estimates that 
any such effects would be less than $500,000 a year. H.R. 4275 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would 
impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: For this 
estimate, CBO assumes that H.R. 4275 will be enacted near the 
start of fiscal year 2001. We also assume that the necessary 
funds will be appropriated starting in fiscal year 2001 and 
that outlays will follow the historical spending pattern for 
similar activities.

Spending subject to appropriation

    Under H.R. 4275, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) would 
administer lands in the proposed conservation and wilderness 
areas. The legislation would direct the Secretary of the 
Interior to establish an advisory committee and would require 
BLM to develop, within three years, a comprehensive management 
plan for the proposed conservation and wilderness areas in 
consultation with that committee.
    Based on information from BLM, CBO estimates that 
implementing H.R. 4275 would cost about $3 million over the 
2001-2005 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary 
funds. That estimate includes the cost of adding staff and 
administrative services to the area, upgrading and maintaining 
existing infrastructure and facilities, establishing and 
operating the advisory committee, and preparing the management 
plan required by the act. According to BLM, the agency does not 
expect the management plan would require new activities or 
facilities that would significantly increase federal costs. As 
a result, we estimate that implementing the management plan 
required by the legislation would cost less than $500,000 a 
year. Because the agency would have three years to develop that 
plan, we estimate that any spending to implement it would not 
occur until 2004.

Direct spending (including offsetting receipts)

    H.R. 4275 would withdraw federal land in the proposed 
conservation and wilderness areas, as well as federal land 
between the boundary of the conservation area and the high-
water mark of the Colorado River, from mining, mineral leasing, 
and geothermal leasing, subject to valid existing rights. 
Enacting those provisions could result in forgone receipts from 
those lands over the next five years if, under current law, the 
land would generate receipts from mineral and geothermal 
development. Based on information from BLM, however, we 
estimate that any such receipts would total less than $500,000 
each year.
    Pay-as-you-go considerations: The Balanced Budget and 
Emergency Deficit Control Act sets up pay-as-you-go procedures 
for legislation affecting direct spending or receipts. Because 
provisions in H.R. 4275 that would withdraw certain lands from 
mining, mineral leasing, and geothermal leasing could affect 
offsetting receipts, pay-as-you-go procedures would apply. CBO 
estimates, however, that any such effects would not be 
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 4275 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA wand would impose no costs on state, local, or 
tribal governments.
    Previous CBO estimate: On July 25, 2000, CBO transmitted a 
cost estimate for H.R. 4275, as ordered reported by the House 
Committee on Resources on July 19, 2000. The two versions of 
the legislation are identical, as are our cost estimates.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Felix LoStracco. 
Impact on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Marjorie 
Miller. Impact on the Private Sector: Lauren Marks.
    Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.


    In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in 
carrying out H.R. 4275. The bill is not a regulatory measure in 
the sense of imposing Government-established standards or 
significant economic responsibilities on private individuals 
and businesses. No personal information would be collected in 
administering the program. Therefore, there would be no impact 
on personal privacy. Little, if any, additional paperwork would 
result from the enactment of H.R. 4275, as ordered reported.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    On September 20, 2000, the Committee on Energy and Natural 
Resources requested legislative reports from the Department of 
the Interior and the Office of Management and Budget setting 
forth executive views on the bill. These reports had not been 
received at the time the report on H.R. 4275 was filed. When 
the reports become available, the Chairman will request that 
they be printed in the Congressional Record for the advice of 
the Senate.
    The testimony provided by the Department of the Interior at 
the Subcommittee hearing follows:

       Statement of Tom Fry, Director, Bureau of Land Management

    Thank you for the opportunity to testify regarding S. 2784, 
the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Act, 
and S. 2956, the Colorado Canyons National Conservation Area 
and the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness Act. Both of these 
areas, the Santa Rosas in southern California and the Ruby 
Canyon/Black Ridge area of western Colorado, are deserving of 
the recognition and the meaningful protections that are 
inherent in National Monument and National Conservation Area 
(NCA) designations. The Administration supports both of these 
    The Administration has testified before Congress several 
times this year on special protective legislation for public 
lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). While 
each NCA or BLM-managed National Monument is unique, there are 
certain common elements, and we have set a standard for what 
these special areas must include. Critical components of a 
Monument or NCA include: a land, mining, and mineral 
withdrawal; off-highway vehicle (OHV) use limitations; and 
language which charges the Secretary to allow ``only such 
uses'' as further the purposes for which the monument or NCA is 
established. In addition, we cannot consent to any language 
that represents a step backward from current management. I'd 
like to discuss with the subcommittee how each of these bills 
successfully addresses these important criteria and describe 
some of the important features of these very special places.

  s. 2784, santa rosa and san jacinto mountains national monument act

    The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains, covering 272,000 
acres in this Monument proposal, are areas of great contrast. 
Nowhere else can you find the juxtaposition of outstanding 
biological, scenic, cultural and recreation values bordering a 
rapidly growing population center and world-class resort 
destination. Much of the growth and prosperity of the Coachella 
Valley is a result of its proximity to these great natural 
areas and that growth is now the biggest threat to its 
    The unique combination of extraordinary natural values of 
the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains adjacent to a growing 
urban complex has long been recognized as deserving special 
protection. In 1990, Interior Secretary Manuel Lujan designated 
the Santa Rosa Mountains as a National Scenic Area. A 
cooperative effort among the BLM, State and local governments, 
the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, private 
organizations, and property owners, this administrative 
designation was the first step to protect the 194,000 acres. 
However, the current designation cannot provide the permanent 
protection necessary to ensure that future generations visiting 
the Santa Rosas will still be able to see a Golden Eagle soar 
over them, a Peninsular Ranges Bighorn Sheep clamber through 
them or a Desert Tortoise crawl across them. A National 
Monument designation can provide that insurance. Early in 1999 
a local, grass-roots effort was initiated to seek support for 
just such a National Monument designation. Responding to that 
call, Secretary Babbitt made the first of several visits in 
August 1999 to begin listening to the local community on how 
best to protect the area.
    The resource values in this special area are as diverse as 
any area that the Federal government manages. The area is home 
to five distinct ``life zones'' from Sonoran Desert to Arctic 
Alpine resulting in an exceptionally diverse biological 
population. Over 500 species of plants and a suite of 
Federally-listed threatened and endangered species call the 
Santa Rosas home. Premier among these is the Federally-
endangered Peninsular Ranges Bighorn Sheep whose population has 
plummeted so that today only about 300 remain. Desert oases, 
natural hot springs, and verdant riparian areas dot this 
    Likewise the cultural and archaeological resources of the 
region abound. A number of sites sacred to the Agua Caliente 
Band of Cahuilla Indians, whose ancestors inhabited most of the 
area, are within the proposed monument. Networks of trails 
connect village sites, campsites and other areas of importance 
to the Tribe. The Tribe presently manages portions of the 
proposed Monument within its reservation boundaries and will 
continue to do so after the designation.
    Recreational use of the Santa Rosas is, and should continue 
to be, an important use of the mountains. Hiking, biking, 
camping and horseback riding are all legitimate uses which 
should, and can, continue in a way compatible with meaningful 
protection of the region.
    S. 2784 meets the important tests that we have set out for 
these special areas. First it contains a complete withdrawal 
from land laws, mineral leasing laws and the mining laws. This 
withdrawal, while protecting valid existing rights, assures us 
that these public lands will not be disposed of in the future, 
that they will not be pockmarked with mining claims and that no 
new oil and gas wells or sand and gravel pits will appear 
within the monument on public lands. As the Director of the 
multiple-use agency managing the majority of the public lands 
in the West, I believe that mineral production is an important 
use of BLM's public lands when it occurs in the right place and 
is done the right way. The protection of special areas, such as 
the Santa Rosas, is also an important part of BLM's multiple-
use mandate as established by the Federal Land Policy and 
Management Act. The legislation also includes new strong 
limitations on off-highway vehicle use within the Monument and 
states that the Secretary shall allow ``only such uses'' of the 
lands within the Monument as further the purposes for which it 
is created.
    Senator Feinstein and Congresswoman Bono have both worked 
hard to see that the bill before us today is a good bill. 
Through long negotiations and extensive compromise on all 
sides, we have a bill we can support and will provide real 
protections for this very special area.

 s. 2956, colorado canyons national conservation area and black ridge 
                         canyons wilderness act

    Located north and west of the growing city of Grand 
Junction in western Colorado, the Ruby Canyon/Black Ridge area 
covered by the legislation encompasses over 122,000 acres of 
magnificent lands, including over 75,00 acres that make up the 
Black Ridge Canyon Wilderness Study Area (WSA) that the bill 
would designate as wilderness. Each year, more than 100,000 
visitors come to these public lands to bike the Kokopelli 
Trail, hike through and among the awe-inspiring sandstone 
arches of Rattlesnake Canyon, float the red rock canyons of the 
Colorado River, marvel at the dinosaur quarries and revel in 
the solitude of extraordinary wilderness.
    Carved over millions of years by the Colorado River and its 
tributaries, this northern edge of the Colorado Plateau is home 
to a wide range of geological and other natural wonders. The 
evolution of life on earth can be read on the many canyon 
walls. From the Precambrian crystalline rocks predating the 
evolution of higher life forms at the bottom of the canyons, to 
Triassic sandstone attesting to the ancient desert that was 
once here, to the abundant dinosaur bones in the Jurassic 
strata, the geologic history is accessible to scientists and 
schoolchildren alike.
    For over 100 years, paleontologists have appreciated the 
incredible resource this area presents. Dinosaur Hill, Fruita 
Paleontological Area, and the Mygatt-Moore Dinosaur Quarry have 
been, and continue to be, the source for significant finds. 
Brachiosaur, Apatosaur, Dipoldocus, and Ceratosaur bones have 
all been recovered from these areas furthering our scientific 
knowledge. Today, while scientific recovery work continues, the 
BLM has created interpretive walks and provides information to 
allow access and understanding to nonscientists as well as 
    This is a landscape where scale is important. From the 
awesome 300-foot wide amphitheater carved in the side of Mee 
Canyon to sheer cliff walls and waterfalls in the bottom of 
many canyons, an individual is dwarfed by the sheer size of a 
myriad of geological formations. Natural arches are found 
throughout the area, but Rattlesnake Canyon has a wondrous 
concentration of huge arches and related alcove features.
    The area also is a haven for an incredible range of fauna. 
Desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, antelope, mountain lions and 
smaller mammals inhabit the region along with peregrine 
falcons, eagles and other raptors. The Colorado River running 
through the proposed NCA is home to four species of endangered 
fish--the humpback chub, pike minnow, bonytail chub and 
razorback sucker. In addition, the riparian communities found 
along the Colorado River are a significant biological resource 
of great importance to many forms of wildlife.
    Recreation, including hiking, floating and mountain biking, 
is a significant and appropriate use of the area. The Black 
Ridge Canyons wilderness area provides accessible opportunities 
for solitude and discovery for over 25,000 hikers annually. 
Twenty-five miles of the world-renown mountain-bike Kokopelli 
Trail traverses the NCA as it traces a 140-mile path from Grand 
Junction to Moab, Utah. The Ruby Canyon/Black Ridge area is one 
of stark beauty and tremendous natural assets--it deserves 
designation as a National Conservation Area. S. 2956, which is 
identical to H.R. 4275 as passed by the House of 
Representatives, includes the important provisions that must be 
in an NCA. It includes the complete land, mineral and mining 
withdrawal, ``only such uses'' language and restrictions on 
off-highway vehicle use that we have established as critical 
elements. In addition, this bill designates over 75,000 acres, 
including just over 5,000 acres in Utah, as the Black Ridge 
Canyons Wilderness, and it does so clearly consistent with the 
provisions of the Wilderness Act.
     I would like to highlight briefly one provision of the 
bill that may seem unusual at first glance, but we can support 
it in the context of this legislation and in this particular 
conservation area. Under the bill the Colorado river, to the 
100-year flood plain, will not be included within the NCA. 
While we would oppose such a provision in most cases, we can 
support it because of the specifics of the situation. As the 
Chairman and members of this Committee are well aware, water in 
the West is a highly-charged issue and none more so than water 
from the Colorado river. The Colorado River is a major source 
of water for the states of Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and 
California as well as for the northern states of the Republic 
of Mexico. In the context of this politically-charged climate, 
we believe that excluding the Colorado river from management 
under the Act represents a reasonable compromise.
     This does not, however, mean removing management of these 
lands from the legislation and the important protections it 
provides. The legislation not only withdraws the public lands 
within the 100-year flood plain from the land laws, mining and 
mineral leasing laws, but it also makes clear that the 
Secretary shall manage recreation and other uses of these lands 
in the same manner as the lands within the NCA. It is only with 
these important provisions that we can support the legislation.


     Mr. Chairman, these two bills, S. 2784 to create the Santa 
Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument and S. 2956 
which establishes the Colorado Canyons National Conservation 
Area and Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness, are good bills. They 
provide important new protections to these special areas 
without diminishing current management. We support both of 
these bills and urge their speedy passage.

                         Changes in Existing Law

     In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no 
changes in existing law are made by H.R. 4275, as ordered