09 May Coloradans love our Public Lands
Three years ago, Colorado became the first state to officially establish a state holiday to celebrate our public lands. We are proud to live in a state that shares our values and we can’t wait to celebrate by enjoying time outside on May 18th, Colorado Public Lands Day!
Curious how to get involved? Visit www.copubliclandsday.com for information on events in your area and ways to donate. Use the following hashtags to support the efforts and join in the fun! #COPublicLandsDay, #KeepItPublic
And while you are thinking about the importance of keeping wild land open to the public, here is a fantastic article written by Durango Outdoor Exchange Owner, Chase LaCroix in June of 2017:
“When my wife, Jen, and I decided we were going to pursue our dream of opening our own business, we knew it would be outdoor-oriented. Growing up in Colorado we are both fortunate to have access to recreational opportunities that people travel here from all over the world to experience. Many of those experiences have taken place on public lands.
We met as river guides and primarily worked on the Animas River in Durango and the Colorado River in Moab. After exploring jobs in other professions, our hearts yearned to be doing more of what we love, which is recreating in the Colorado outdoors. In September of 2014, we decided to open our own business as an outdoor gear consignment shop.
Writing the business plan for our business, Durango Outdoor Exchange, involved a lot of careful consideration and analysis. At the forefront of each theme was a level of comfort knowing that past generations were able to recognize the value and importance that our local landscapes have to offer. When President Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act into law on June 8, 1906, a precedent was set within the United States government that the leaders of our nation will continue to preserve and protect one of our greatest assets – our public lands.
There are so many great reasons our national monuments have been designated and preserved. Each monument is unique and maintains its own sense of character. That is why it’s so concerning to me that the Trump administration would consider revoking the protected status of any one of our monuments.
As ambassadors to the outdoor way of life, we take pride in educating our clients about recreational opportunities in our surrounding public lands. Regional travelers come to explore our backyard, contribute to our economic growth and allow employers to hire staff to fill more outdoor-related jobs.
Public lands bring out the best in our society by stimulating people’s senses and their sense of imagination and adventure. According to studies by Headwaters Economics, they also generate serious economic returns, For more than 40 years, rural counties in the American west with more protected federal public lands have outpaced other counties in population growth, personal income, per capita income and employment. Counties neighboring national monuments have seen similar benefits and Montezuma County, home to Canyons of the Ancients, is no exception.
As Canyon of the Ancients is being reviewed, please consider the impacts removing its protections would have to our local economy, as well as to the over 6,000 Ancestral Puebloan cultural resources it protects. Jen and I stand united with other Colorado Outdoor Business Alliance members in recognizing the value of these protected public lands for our livelihoods, and advocating for their continued protection. An attack on our national monuments is an attack on our tourism economy, our business and our way of life.
President Trump’s Executive Order to “review” the 27 national monuments designated since 1996 jeopardizes their very existence. It is exactly the opposite move I would expect a leader of our country to make and puts the 7.6 million outdoor-related jobs that contribute $887 billion in consumer spending a year at risk nationwide.
The Colorado outdoor industry attracts visitors from all over the world and each acre of public land helps us to grow this industry. We ask that Senator Gardner match his recent letter to Secretary Zinke with action and fight to protect Canyons of the Ancients and Colorado’s other incredible national monuments. And we hope Secretary Zinke will honor our request and support the Colorado business community and our outdoor recreation economy by recommending no changes to our national monuments.”