Thursday, March 29, 2012
Message from the Director
Welcome to the March edition of the Conservation Chronicles, the monthly e-newsletter of CMC Conservation. There is a lot happening that we are excited to share with you. Our upcoming outdoor stewardship season is packed with exciting volunteer opportunities. Senator Udall has begun a public dialogue about wilderness for the Central Mountains and Browns Canyon – and wants to hear from CMC members and the public. The Colorado legislature is in full swing, and there are several bills we are tracking that impact the interests of CMC members and hikers, climbers and other lovers of Colorado’s beautiful backcountry.
CMC Conservation is working to help build a culture of stewardship in Colorado. We believe that since we are recreational users of the land, we have an obligation to be stewards as well – to give back. Stewardship can take many forms, including practicing Leave No Trace when in the backcountry, volunteering for outdoor trail work and restoration projects, as well as advocacy work that holds policy makers accountable for decisions affecting management of our backcountry.
I challenge all of us to become involved in stewardship in Colorado. Working together, each in our own way, we can have a tremendous impact for good. Given that Colorado’s population is projected to continue to grow, the demands on our public lands will also increase; so the need for a strong ethic of stewardship is both timely and critical to meet the challenges of the coming decades.
For the Mountains,
Director of Conservation & Education
The Colorado General Assembly is in session until May 9, and we’ve been following a series of bills that directly impact recreation and our backcountry. Thank you to those who have already sent notes to your representatives!
HB 1066 – CMC Opposes – This bill would open about 40,000 miles of county roads and town streets across Colorado to off-highway vehicles (OHV), as well as create a system to register and title these vehicles. While there are legitimate connectivity problems for OHV users, CMC believes that this legislation goes too far, could harm natural resources, disrupt other recreational users, as well as strip counties and towns of their ability to regulate OHV use in their jurisdictions. HB 1066 is close to a vote in the House of Representatives. Right now, your state legislators need to hear from their constituents before the final votes. Let’s try to stop this in its tracks before it passes to the State Senate!
HB 1317 – CMC Opposes – This bill merges the governing commission of the newly merged Colorado Parks and Wildlife division. CMC believes that it is critical that state parks and recreation are fairly represented on the board. HB 1317, as amended, would be composed of 3 hunting/angler seats, 3 agriculture seats, 1 non-consumptive wildlife organization, 1 outfitter and only 3 recreation seats, one of which is to have motorized trails experience. This arrangement gives an outsized voice to land owners and motorized recreation.
Colorado’s active recreation economy adds about $10 billion per year to our state’s economy, according to a report by the Outdoor Industry Association. Please tell your state legislators, especially in the State Senate, to make sure that the final bill fairly represents the interests of hikers, climbers, paddlers and other active recreation enthusiasts.
HB 1322 – CMC Opposes – This bill would require the federal government to sell off any public lands suitable for agricultural uses, which would include logging and grazing, and return a portion of the proceeds to Colorado to fund an education trust fund. Therefore, nearly all federally-managed public lands would be on the auction block, including designated wilderness. The bill is almost certainly unconstitutional, and if successful would be devastating to recreation and wildlife in Colorado. See our fact sheet for more info.
This is part of a wider assault on public lands that is happening at the federal level and in states around the west. The bill was supposed to be heard before the House Education Committee last Monday, but was pulled from the calendar. Ask your legislators to oppose this unwise legislation.
Find your legislators and contact information here.Please copy us on your notes to representatives at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you know that Senator Mark Udall is leading a public listening process that will hopefully lead to a new national monument for Colorado? We’ve already alerted members that Sen. Udall wants public comment on potential wilderness for the Central Mountains of Summit, Eagle and Pitkin counties, but he is also seeking input on a potential national monument and wilderness area for Browns Canyon of the Arkansas River. Designation of lands surrounding this popular whitewater river stretch could help the economy of Chaffee County as well as protect this iconic and rugged area for future generations. For maps and to comment on this proposal, see Sen. Udall’s website. Also check out the Friends of Browns Canyon.