Poll shows voters care about value of public lands - with video

An angler finds a place to cast a line in the Brown's Canyon National Monument in Colorado. Joshua Duplechian/Trout Unlimited

By Brett Prettyman

People of the West place a high value on public lands according to a poll of Colorado and Nevada residents released by the Outdoor Industry Association.

Of those polled, 83 percent of Coloradans and 74 percent of Nevadans believe national forests, monuments and wildlife refuges (and other public lands) have a positive impact on opportunities for hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation. Potential Republican and Democratic voters agreed in similar fashion.

Furthermore, 98 percent of Colorado residents and 97 percent from Nevada believe it is important to protect public lands for future generations, according to the poll.

“The polling data confirms what we’ve always believed,” Amy Roberts, executive director of the Outdoor Industry Association, said in a release. “People in Colorado and Nevada, but really all across the West and around the country, regardless of their political affiliation, know that outdoor recreation and access to national parks, national forests and national monuments are key to quality of life, job creation and healthy economies in their states.”

Public Lands, Public Hands

The poll, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies in early October, included 500 likely voters from both states. The vast majority of the headwaters for our country’s rivers originate on public lands, which means that angling opportunities in the West originate on public lands, too.

“It’s no wonder that an overwhelming majority of voters are in favor of protecting these places and will support candidates who share these beliefs,” Roberts said.

Also of note, 64 percent of those polled in Colorado and 58 percent in Nevada oppose giving state government control over national public lands. Nine in 10 voters in Colorado and eight of 10 in Nevada participate in outdoor recreation on public lands and three-quarters of those polled recognize that the lands belong to all Americans, not just the states where they are found.

Brett Prettyman is the Intermountain Communications Director for Trout Unlimited. He is based in Salt Lake City.


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