From the Gunnison Country Times and the Crested Butte News
It’s easy to feel grateful to be a Coloradan in Gunnison County. We have breathtaking mountains right out the backdoor, high alpine meadows just peaking with wildflower blooms, and miles and miles of trails waiting to be explored. Wildlife is abundant and a trip to the mountains is an opportunity to spot a fox, a Western Tanager, or a herd of deer.
This week marks Colorado’s 140th birthday. Here, there’s no better way to celebrate our Centennial State than appreciating our public lands. Public lands drive Gunnison County’s economy, from outdoor recreation and tourism to ranching and hunting. Recent studies from Headwater Economics show that areas with healthy public lands help bring in qualified workers, raise incomes, and create jobs.
Our public lands help keep our air and water clean. Watersheds without roads and industrial development are more likely to function well, according to research from The Wilderness Society. This means that we can thank our high peaks and miles of pristine forest for the clean water that supports Gunnison County’s Gold Medal fisheries, irrigates our family ranching operations, and flows out of our taps.
So many of us live here because of the opportunities to recreate, whether we prefer to hike, mountain bike, dirt bike, snowmobile, ski, hunt, or fish. Our public lands keep us fit and improve our mental wellbeing. Public lands not only improve our economy, but also provide us outstanding opportunities to get outdoors and improve our work-life balance.
As we celebrate Colorado Day this week, we also celebrate our incredible natural heritage and public lands. Our public lands are our legacy to leave to future generations. The children of the next 140 years and beyond deserve to know our incredible views, our native plants and animals, and the happiness found in exploring the backcountry. They deserve the healthy environment and vibrant economy public lands afford.
Take a moment to celebrate the incredible place we live this week and join us in working to keep our public lands healthy and intact for the next generation of Coloradans.
Kevin Alexander, Member – Trout Unlimited
Ben Breslauer, President – Gunnison O.H.V. Alliance of Trailriders (GOATs)
John Chandler, Board Member – Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association
Hilary Henry, Coordinator – Gunnison Public Lands Initiative
Frank Kugel, General Manager – Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District
Scott Miller, Senior Regional Director – The Wilderness Society
Tony Prendergast, Member – Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
Sandy Shea, Board President – High Country Conservation Advocates
Dave Wiens, Executive Director – Gunnison Trails