Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Standing Up for Our Public Lands

(L-R) John Fielder, Kurt Kunkle (CEC) and Scott Braden (CMC)
Colorado Mountain Club joined renowned landscape photographer John Fielder, a representative of Senator Mark Udall and Colorado Environmental Coalition (CEC) to call attention to a raft of anti-conservation bills in the U.S. Congress.  A new report on the bills has been released by the group Environment Colorado.

These bills, outlined in the report, would turn back the clock on hard won conservation rules that help keep Colorado's wildernesses and open spaces pristine and open to recreation.  The bills, all in the House of Representatives, would open protected wilderness areas to logging and motor vehicles, gut the Colorado Roadless Rule, release lands from protection as Wilderness Study Areas, and force the Bureau of Land Management to sell of "excess" federal lands to the highest bidder.

The lands that would be adversely impacted by these bills in Colorado are critical to our state's robust and growing outdoor recreation economy.  A new study by the Outdoor Industry Association determined that outdoor recreation spending tops $645 billion per year in the U.S. and is responsible for 6.1 million jobs.  Additionally, a recent Colorado College poll indicates that 93% of Coloradans agree that “Our national parks, forests, monuments, and wildlife areas are an essential part of Colorado’s economy.”

These laws, which unfortunately have support from some Colorado Congressmen, including Reps. Tipton, Lamborn and Coffman, undermine what is beautiful and great about our state, would damage our vibrant recreation economy, and are out of step with the values of Coloradans. 

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