U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-C.O.),
Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), as well as Representatives Lowenthal (D-C.A), and
Perlmutter (D-C.O.) have just introduced
legislation seeking to reaffirm the importance
of America’s public lands and protect against efforts to sell off federally controlled
lands without an act of Congress. Eighty Colorado businesses have signed a
letter supporting the bill and encouraging Colorado’s congressional delegation
to back the America’s Public Land Act.
Public lands are owned by all Americans and are an important source of clean air, water, and habitat for native plants and wildlife. They also provide a significant source of energy to power the nation and they are an important economic driver. The outdoor recreation economy provides 6.1 million jobs, $80 billion in federal and local tax revenue, and $646 billion in direct consumer spending annually. In Colorado alone, the outdoor recreation industry supports 229,000 jobs, $9.7 billion in wages and salaries, $2 billion in state and local tax revenue, and $28 billion in consumer spending. Many small business owners across the country depend on tourist dollars that come from having beautiful, protected public lands nearby.
Diane Wren, Owner of Osprey Packs in Cortez, Colorado said, “As a Colorado business owner, with employees and customers who depend on public lands for backpacking, fishing, camping, hiking, biking and other activities, I understand these lands are part of our heritage and important to the health of local communities, our state and country. Passage of the America’s Public Land Act would ensure that all Americans continue to have to access to and enjoy public lands for generations to come.” “As Americans and Coloradoans, we are all public land owners and have a vested interest in their management. The America’s Public Land Act makes it clear that public lands are to remain in public hands, for the benefit of all Americans. Supporting this piece of legislation is one of the most patriotic things our congressional delegation can do. We call on Congress to protect the great public lands legacy of our country,” said Henry Wood Director of Sales and Marketing for Colorado-based Upslope Brewing Company.
Photo: Uncompahgre National Forest, Colo, Credit: Mason Cummings, The Wilderness Society