Letter: ‘Public Lands Day’
This Wednesday, our state senator, Kerry Donovan, is introducing a bill in the state Senate calling for the fourth Monday in March to be known as “Public Lands Day” to recognize the significant contributions that national public lands in Colorado make to our daily lives. This celebratory declaration would be revenue-neutral and wouldn’t close any state offices.
The proposed bill comes against a backdrop of unprecedented threats to our federal public lands, from a goofy, misguided armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, to an industry funded, “astro-turfed” political movement to spend public taxpayer funds to “study” the transfer of federal lands to the states. State ownership is one step away from either giveaways to industry or outright sales to private interests.
It is worth remembering why we live here in Colorado, why our economy is so strong, why our quality of life is so high. If you live in Colorado, you are probably a hiker, a biker, a climber, a skier, a photographer, a rafter, kayaker, a hunter or fisherman, or you enjoy outdoor activities, most of which take place on federal public lands. Everyone benefits from the clean waters that originate in our headwaters, all on public lands, including our ranchers and farmers.
Our tourist visitors come here, season in and season out, year after year, for activities on our magnificent public lands. These public lands are our own, true, golden goose, and only the very foolish or gullible would put them at risk.
The Public Lands Day bill will be introduced in front of the Military and State Affairs committee, which makes me want to ask the committee members: What would they say to our returning veterans? Would they say, “Sorry, but while you were gone we transferred your public lands to the highest bidder”? What exactly are our veterans fighting for, but for the right to know their homeland is safe and available for all of us?
I support our public lands, and I support this “Public Lands Day” bill that Kerry Donovan is introducing. I hope you do as well.
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Centrists are likely extinct