Vote no on H.B. 1322
Dear Editor:Recently, some apparently uninformed and/or misguided Colorado state legislators (chief among them, Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg) have introduced House Bill 1322, which would selloff/transfer federal public lands, ultimately removing them from the public domain, which means the owners of these currently public lands (i.e., me and you) would be locked out: no more hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, backpacking, biking, etc.Sonnenberg apparently doesn’t understand that sportsmen’s economic impact to Colorado (which is dependent on public lands) is more than $2 billion annually and is a renewable resource. Forest Service and BLM lands are major drivers to tourism and travel, and are essential to local communities all over Colorado, such as Meeker, Craig, Gunnison, Kremmling, Rifle and Yuma.In addition, every dollar we put into land acquisition contributes about $2 to the U.S. economy, and hunting and fishing generate more than $6.3 billion in annual tax revenues and create more than 900,000 sustainable American jobs. Federal investment in public lands (parks, refuges, trails, rivers, recreation areas and national forests) drives a conservation, recreation and historic preservation sector of the economy that supports 9.4 million U.S. jobs. The combination of conservation, outdoor recreation and historic preservation is responsible for more than $1 trillion in economic activity and more than $107 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues.Federally owned public lands in America were created for preservation in perpetuity (forever). Great wildlife and conservation leaders such as Teddy Roosevelt fought their own battles simply to set aside public lands and knew even then that some people would come later to covet those lands and seek to take over or liquidate them. In a nutshell, H.B. 1322 is an attempt to transfer public lands from the public domain to the private, where they’ll eventually be sold off to the highest bidder. Public lands of the U.S. Forest Service and BLM are the assets of all 310 million American citizens. Did anyone ask all of them if they want their federal public lands sold to the highest bidder? Urge your legislators to do Colorado a huge favor and vote no on H.B. 1322.David A. Lien Co-chairman,Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers
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