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On Colorado Day, remember the value of our public lands

Blog    On August 1, 2016

In honor of Colorado Day the state is offering a birthday gift to all of us on August 1 – free entrance to any of Colorado’s 42 State Parks. It’s a great opportunity for us to honor the founding of our state 140 years ago, and a chance to consider the incredible value of our public lands.


When people think of Colorado, they think of our mountains and iconic beauty, which bring guests and new residents here in droves. We’ve kept our state extraordinary by protecting and preserving access to public lands for over a century. We’ve also built one of the strongest economies in the West, partially because of our balanced use of public lands for agricultural grazing, recreation, tourism, along with appropriately located mineral and oil and gas production.


Unfortunately, our ability to use and access our public lands is now under serious threat from special interest groups and Congressman Scott Tipton, who has repeatedly supported the privatization of Colorado’s public lands.


The Center for American Progress lists Congressman Tipton among nine members of Congress in the “supporting cast” behind a 20-member Anti-Parks Caucus. Members of this Caucus and the supporting cast have records of sponsoring or supporting bills that would privatize public lands – in order to expand oil and gas exploration – and bills that would weaken existing laws that protect public lands. To me, and to many of the people I meet in the 3rd CD, that’s just unacceptable.


I pledge to protect our public lands when elected to Congress from the 3rd Congressional District. These lands will benefit the Western Slope and Southern Colorado for generations to come if they remain properly managed and in public hands.


Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District includes Southern Colorado, the San Luis Valley and the Western Slope. It is our country’s most beautiful Congressional District, and having lived and worked in it for over 40 years I understand the extraordinary value of our public lands and wild places. Three of the four National Parks in Colorado are located in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District: Mesa Verde, Great Sand Dunes, and Black Canyon of the Gunnison. The 3rd Congressional District also enjoys six National Monuments, National Heritage Areas, approximately 11 million acres of National Forest land, and nearly 30 National Wilderness Areas. Colorado also has 42 State Parks, along with 350 State Wildlife Areas, and many acres of locally owned public lands. Public lands are fundamental to the success of the Outdoor Recreation Industry in Colorado, which accounts for nearly $35 billion in state economic activity annually, supporting 350,000 jobs.


So please take time this Colorado Day to enjoy free access to any of Colorado’s 42 state parks, and please remember how important it is that we all work together to stop Congress and special interest groups from blocking access to our public lands and allowing them to be sold off to the highest bidder.


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