Colorado Public Lands Day bill signed

May 17, 2016


Governor Hickenlooper signed into law the Colorado Public Lands Day bill on May 17. 
 Colorado is the first state in the nation to proclaim a public lands day.  
It will be a day to celebrate and to educate youth about Colorado's wonderful public 
lands: BLM and US Forest Service-managed lands, state wildlife areas and state parks.

Colorado General Assembly passed the Colorado Public Lands Day bill on May 6.  

See earlier media below upon passage of the bill:
May 11, 2016 - Eric Galatas, Public News Service (CO)

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[A new bill marking Public Lands Day is expected to be signed by Gov. John
Hickenlooper. (Tljpatch0/Pixabay)<br

A new bill marking Public Lands Day is expected to be signed by Gov. John
Hickenlooper. (Tljpatch0/Pixabay)<br />

DENVER [] - After months
of partisan conflict, Colorado is set to become the first state in the nation to
officially celebrate its public lands. Senate Bill
21<>, now
awaiting Gov. John Hickenlooper's signature, sets the third Saturday in May as
Public Lands Day.

Suzanne O'Neill, executive director of the Colorado Wildlife Federation, said the
move is an opportunity to inspire young people who enjoy outdoor recreation to
become stewards of wildlife habitat on lands owned by all Americans.

"This is something that we all can treasure, we can access for recreation," she
said. "It contributes a huge amount to our Colorado economy, and so it's fitting and
proper that we celebrate it."

The bill was introduced on the first day of the session and quickly drew the ire of
some lawmakers who amended the measure to include anti-federal management
sentiments. Ultimately, both sides agreed to remove language politicizing the bill
and a version simply calling for the creation of a Public Lands Day cleared the
General Assembly.

Aaron Kindle, western sportsmen campaign manager for the National Wildlife
Federation's Rocky Mountain region, said the push for state takeover of public lands
is being bankrolled by large energy and extraction companies that find federal
oversight - which includes considering factors such as impact on wildlife and water
quality and seeking public input - cumbersome to business. He said the majority of
Coloradans want to celebrate, not seize, our public lands.

"They're just so special, really," he said. "It's a uniquely American thing. People
from all over the world come here, and we just need to make sure we understand how
special they are and do our part to maintain and protect them."

Kindle pointed to a recent survey by Colorado
that showed that 59 percent of residents oppose state takeover of public lands, and
77 percent say national lands are good for the state's economy. According to a 2014
report by Colorado Parks and
outdoor recreation generates more than $34 billion in economic activity each year
and creates more than 300,000 jobs.

Details of SB 21 are online at<>.
The Colorado College survey is at<>.
The Parks and Wildlife report is at<>.
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