Outdoor recreation on our public lands plays an important role in the lives of everyone who lives in Colorado. In 2019 alone, hunting contributed $15 million to the local economies of Delta and Gunnison counties. Public lands support our local communities by providing the clean air and water that farmers, ranchers, local business owners and citizens rely on. We have a responsibility as stewards of the earth to protect it, and the Colorado’s Outdoor Recreation Economy (CORE) Act is an excellent tool to do so. By protecting over 200,000 acres of public lands in the Thompson Divide, the CORE Act will preserve critical habitat and migration corridors and boost our outstanding recreational opportunities. It will also protect water quality and air quality by preserving our key watersheds and engaging in a methane capture pilot program. This is imperative in protecting the numerous organic and biodynamic farms and businesses in the North Fork Valley. The CORE Act will benefit the economy, food systems and lifestyles of the Western Slope.
The CORE Act has evolved from decades of collaboration between stakeholders, including sportsmen, ranchers, small business owners, outdoor recreation organizations, veterans and local elected officials. As a result, it is the most broadly-supported effort to protect Colorado’s lands, waters and forests in a generation, with 111 local elected officials and more than 30 communities endorsing it. The legislation has support from all the counties that are impacted, including Garfield County which supports the component of the bill within their jurisdiction (Thompson Divide). The CORE Act will positively impact all of Colorado and ensure that our way of life is sustained. As an avid outdoor recreationist, consumer of locally grown organic foods and West Slope resident, I urge Colorado’s Senators to continue advocating for the CORE Act in the Senate.