Speaking out for public lands

Celebrate your public lands: trout caught in Fern Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park

Chances are, if you’ve fished for trout in Colorado, you’ve caught many of them on or near public lands. There are so many great places to explore, fish, hike and hunt in Colorado—and many are only accessible because of our state and national public lands.

It’s fitting, then, that Colorado lawmakers last year passed legislation marking the third Saturday of May (May 20 this year) as Colorado Public Lands Day—the first state in the nation to establish its own public lands holiday. It was a chance for Coloradans to acknowledge the many benefits of public lands in our state—and it’s also a great reminder to get out there and enjoy them.

The Public Lands Day is especially important considering the efforts by a loud, radical minority in the West to seize, downsize or sell off America’s public lands. It’s timely, too, considering the Trump administration’s recent executive order calling for a review of national monuments, including the Canyons of the Ancients in Colorado.

In response, sportsmen and women are making clear they won’t stand for dismantling our public lands heritage. Nearly one-third of Colorado’s land mass—24 million acres—are national public lands that provide access to world-class hunting and fishing and wildlife habitat. These lands are a foundation of the state’s booming outdoor recreation economy, which generates $13 billion annually and supports 125,000 jobs in the state.

These special places also offer priceless experiences of adventure, solace and renewal that are in short supply in our world.

To highlight those outdoor opportunities, Colorado TU asked its members (and visitors who’ve enjoyed our lands and waters) to celebrate Colorado Public Lands Day by sending a photo of a fish caught or other recreation activity on public lands by tweet or email to Sen. Gardner and Sen. Bennet.

While the day is officially past, it's not too late to send Sens. Gardner and Bennet and photo -- if tweeting, be sure to include the hash tag #COPublicLandsDay as well as a message about your support for Colorado public lands.

The photos in this blog were submitted by TU members and capture some of the excitement of fishing Colorado public lands. They’re a reminder that, for most sportsmen, public lands are the foundation of their outdoor experience.

For more information on Colorado Public lands Day, visit: www.copubliclandsday.com. And for TU members who want to stand up for our national monuments currently under review, go to TU’s Action Center and express your support.

These are our places. Let’s speak up for them.

Randy Scholfield is TU’s communications director for the Southwest.


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