It’s a special time of year for hunters and anglers. Across the country, hunters are pulling out camouflage clothing and warm boots. Blaze orange hats sit on the dashboards of trucks as they head down county roads, destined for a big-game hunt. Waterfowl hunters are arriving in marshes with decoys, a dog and hot coffee. Anglers are stripping streamers through deep runs, warming their hands with their breath as they remember their summer spent on the high-country creeks.
For success in any of these endeavors, one important component is common to all: They all require healthy habitat to support the game animals sportsmen covet.
Sportsmen are an economic force in America. In one year alone, they contribute more than $76 billion to the American economy and help support more than 1.6 million jobs. If a single corporation grossed as much as hunters and anglers spend annually, it would be among America’s 20 largest. In Colorado, those figures total $1.8 billion into our economy and 21,000 jobs. In La Plata County alone, sportsmen have a total economic impact of $43 million each year and support more than 470 jobs.
Clearly, there is a trend here. Promoting strong, sustainable recreation in the Durango and Silverton area isn’t just a good conservation decision, it’s a good business decision.
The Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act, a bipartisan bill currently in Congress, represents the best of what sportsmen cherish locally. Hermosa Creek is Colorado’s largest yet unprotected backcountry area and is home to some of the finest elk and deer habitat in the state. Additionally, Hermosa Creek is the site for Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s largest and most important native cutthroat trout reintroduction program.
Read the rest of Ty Churchwell's article here in the Durango Herald.