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Colorado started developing a state-specific rule following legal challenges of a 2001 national roadless rule, which the state of Wyoming and others have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review.

The Colorado rule is similar to the national policy, but Vilsack said Monday it provides flexibility to allow for thinning of forests to lessen threats of catastrophic wildfires, ski resort expansion and coal mining in the North Fork area. It includes stronger protections for 1.2 million acres of the 4.2 million acres of roadless national forests in Colorado.

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership says it's pleased the final rule includes changes including more protection for cutthroat trout.