Celebrate Colorado Public Lands Day | AspenTimes.com

Celebrate Colorado Public Lands Day

This Saturday is Colorado Public Lands Day — a holiday to celebrate the parks, forests, wildlife refuges and open spaces that make Colorado a great place to live.

You can see it in the numbers. More than 90 percent of residents listed clean air, clean water, and the environment as reasons for living in Colorado in the 2017 Conservation in the West poll. Outdoor recreation in Colorado generates $28 billion per year and supports 229,000 direct jobs, according to the latest report from Outdoor Industry Association.

More than in numbers, you can see the love for public lands in our communities. When trailheads are bustling hubs every weekend, local parks buzz with energy, and thrill-seekers and families alike head out for weekend adventures, that's when you can tell people here love our public lands.

That's why two years ago we proposed and passed legislation to create Colorado Public Lands Day every year on the third Saturday in May to celebrate our public lands and recognize their central importance to our state. The first in the nation to do so!

But as Coloradans continue to celebrate and advocate for protecting public lands, there's a different story unfolding at the national level. The administration in Washington, D.C., continues to threaten our natural heritage by increasing drilling and mining, shrinking protected areas like national monuments, and ignoring local community members and stakeholders in order to hand out favors to their friends in big industry. Now more than ever, Colorado's passion to protect public lands is a crucial piece of the movement to protect our future.

Most of our colleagues in the Colorado Senate agree. At this year's recently concluded session, we both supported two bills that became laws to protect funding for public lands here in Colorado. We reauthorized the state lottery, which funds Great Outdoors Colorado to protect and enhance Colorado's wildlife, parks, rivers, trails and open spaces in all 64 counties in Colorado.

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Sen. Leroy Garcia represents District 3 in Pueblo and Sen. Kerry Donovan represents District 5 on the West Slope.

Sen. Leroy Garcia and Sen. Kerry Donovan

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