2022 Conservation Scorecard

Public Lands

In Colorado, our public lands are an integral part of our economy and way of life. Coloradans have proven time and again that we revere our parks, open spaces, and wild places. Despite an ideological effort over the past several years to turn our public lands over to state and private interests, this idea has been dead on arrival in Colorado. We will keep fighting to protect all of our public lands.

Bills Tracked

HB 1321 Parks and Wildlife Financial Sustainability

For decades, anti-government activists have fought the idea that public lands belong to all Americans. However, the revenue from these fees has not kept pace with operational costs and inflation in recent years. As a result, the agency’s budget has been reduced by $40 million in the last eight years. This bill would have allowed the Parks and Wildlife Commission to address these financial issues by setting appropriate user fees. An adequately-funded and well-managed state wildlife agency can boost sustainable and diverse economic development, especially in rural areas. This is because hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching generate about $6 billion in economic impact, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Pro-Environment Vote: YES

Status: Killed in Senate Committee

Spotlight: Public Lands Proud

For decades, anti-government activists have fought the idea of public lands that belong to all Americans. In recent years, this extreme view has trickled into the mainstream and has made its way into many state legislatures.

Over the past five years, eight bills were introduced in the Colorado legislature to seize our public lands and transfer them to the state or private interests. These bills are fundamentally bad policy and were overwhelmingly opposed by Coloradans all over the state. Any one of these misguided ideas would have triggered years of litigation, cost the state millions of dollars, stalled our tourism economy, and if successful, left our public lands unprotected from development. Every one of these bills was killed because Coloradans spoke out.

This year, not a single bill to seize our public lands was introduced, demonstrating just how unpopular this idea has become.

In contrast, this May we celebrated the first-ever Colorado Public Lands Day with more than 130 events across the state and over 2,000 participants. With this new holiday, we were able to prove the widespread love for public lands that Coloradans share.

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