Fort Carson Buffer Zone

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Colorado Senator Wayne Allard and Congressman Joel Hefley are backing legislation to create a buffer zone around Fort Carson to protect the Army base's training space.

The bill they'll introduce would also preserve at least 50-thousand acres of open space and wildlife habitat.

The Nature Conservancy is working with the Republican lawmakers on the proposal.

The legislation would direct the secretary of the Army to work with outside parties to buy conservation easements. The Nature Conservancy would oversee the area -- which would still be ranched but couldn't be developed.

Allard said during a news conference today at Fort Carson near Colorado Springs that the plan would prevent development from encroaching on the base's training ranges.

Hefley says it would also protect pristine land. The area is on the Army base's southern and eastern boundaries.

The Nature Conservancy is negotiating with two land owners in the area and may talk to more. The group estimates acquiring the land would cost from 15 (m) million dollars to 30 (m) million dollars. The money would come from federal funds.