Mark Udall welcomed news today that the White River National Forest issued new local guidelines that will help important events like the Copper Triangle Bicycle Tour continue. Colorado is a draw for cyclists, and there are a growing number of large cycling events that occur in the national forests across the state. Unfortunately, one-size-fits-all national regulations could have created burdensome fees for some of these events, like the Copper Triangle, that cross many different jurisdictions along a 78-mile course.
Udall noticed this issue several months ago and brought his concerns to the U.S. Forest Service's attention. Since then, Udall has worked with the U.S. Forest Service and the ride organizers to reach a resolution.
"Colorado is the envy of the world because we have a high quality of life and scenic landscapes – and we love to show off," Udall said. "Cycling events create jobs, drive tourism and showcase some of what makes Colorado incredible. I am glad that I was able to help the U.S. Forest Service and the organizers of the Copper Triangle ride come together and reach a solution in the best traditions of Colorado common sense. This is a win for Colorado and a testament to what happens when the public and private sectors work together."
"We very much appreciate that Senator Udall took an interest in this issue and that the U.S. Forest Service invested the time to review, evaluate and update the policy concerning special events on Colorado's wonderful bike paths," said Scot Harris, event director for the Copper Triangle Bicycle Tour. "This policy was clearly out of date and causing confusion within the U.S. Forest Service, but the staff at the White River National Forest Office were flexible and worked hard to understand the issue in order to re-write a much more reasonable and fair policy."
Following Udall's intervention in the issue earlier this year, the White River National Forest responded by analyzing the issue and issuing a new local Special Use amendment that allows a different fee structure for developed bike paths that have become so popular in the region, including the Summit County, Vail Pass and Glenwood Canyon paved recreational paths adjacent to I-70 and the paved path around Dillon Reservoir.
Udall commends the White River National Forest for its flexible and common-sense approach that will support the famous Copper Triangle road ride as well as the many other events that attract riders to this magnificent part of the state. The Copper Triangle draws more than 3,000 cyclists annually and generates nearly $1 million in economic impact for Copper Mountain and neighboring hotels and businesses. It also has raised over $750,000 for the Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson's research.