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Western Public Lands

Sportsmen's groups praise Colorado Public Lands Day


Kent Ingram of Colorado Wildlife Federation enjoys a fruitful day on the river. Image: Aaron Kindle

By Randy Scholfield, Trout Unlimited

“It is wonderful that Colorado is acknowledging in bipartisan fashion how valuable and important America’s public lands are to its residents by being the first state to designate a Public Lands Day,” said Tyler Baskfield, Colorado Sportsmen Coordinator for Trout Unlimited. “The outpouring of support for this legislation demonstrates how much Colorado sportsmen and sportswomen, outdoor enthusiasts and businesses value America’s public lands. Those pushing a public lands transfer agenda are really just fringe groups whose interests serve very few.”

Baskfield noted that Trout Unlimited has worked with sportsmen and sportswomen for decades to enhance coldwater fisheries. Much of this work has taken place in cooperation with state and federal agencies and other conservation organizations on Colorado’s public lands.

“It’s about access,” added Baskfield. ““Colorado is fortunate enough to have millions of acres of public lands for hunters and anglers to explore—and sportsmen and women deeply appreciate the opportunity these lands provide for outdoor recreation. We look forward to celebrating Colorado Public Lands Day.”

Other sportsmen groups lauded the official recognition of the benefits of public lands.

“Just as our landscapes make Colorado a special place, the bipartisan bill creating an annual Public Lands Day demonstrates positive leadership at a time when politics is often too full of division,” said Suzanne O’Neill, Colorado Wildlife Federation executive director. “Public lands, from the mountains to the sagebrush steppe and rolling plains, support our fish and wildlife, hunting, fishing, wildlife watching, and other outdoor recreation that generates more than $34 billion in economic activity each year.”

“Bipartisan support for Public Lands Day is a great indication of the passion Coloradans have for outdoor recreation on public lands—national treasures owned by all of us—as part of a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle,” said Nick Payne, Colorado field representative for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “I’m sure thousands of hunters and anglers will join me in tipping a hat to our state lawmakers, with the hope that this will spark constructive conversations about responsible management of our public lands, which ensures continued access to world-class hunting and fishing experiences.”

“Sportsmen are pleased to see the state of Colorado continue to maintain our longstanding bipartisan tradition of supporting public lands, public access and habitat conservation,” said Matt Kenna, Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers board member from Durango. “It's now time to capitalize on this momentum – and work toward implementing real, on-the-ground public lands management solutions.”

Image: Bill Dvorak


Tuesday, May 10, 2016