Letter: Protecting sage grouse is winning strategy | PostIndependent.com

Letter: Protecting sage grouse is winning strategy

Bob Millette
Glenwood Springs

In recent discussions about the greater sage grouse, it seems that some people believe that protecting habitat for this magnificent Western bird is at odds with economic viability in the region, and that we must choose between our well-being and that of other creatures that share our state. That notion is not only false, but it is also harmful to our own well-being in many ways. For one, securing sage grouse habitat will also protect the health of our deer and elk herds. That is good for hunting, and hunting is good for Colorado’s economy — especially in the more rural parts of our state.

Balancing habitat protection with energy development is key to the survival of many species. In fact, protecting habitat for the sage grouse is part of a winning strategy for protecting the viability of western Colorado communities, not a detriment to it. One recent study by ECONorthwest commissioned by the Western Values Project found that recreation, hunting, fishing and other similar activities in Colorado’s northwest corner generate over $75 million in revenue for the state.

Of course, we have to consider various activities in the region, and try to work with everyone who has a stake in the matter, but we should not be led to believe that protecting sage grouse means harming the economy. We need to get everyone to the table and act quickly to protect the greater sage grouse and its habitat. It’s the right thing to do, and it is good for Colorado’s economy as well.

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