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Colorado remains divided over public land transfer


Bull elk in late winter
Photo credit: Shutterstock

The transfer of public lands is one of the most heavily debated issues among hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts. Should this become law, all national forests, wildlife refuges, wilderness areas, historic sites and national monuments could have a price tag – and states would have the power to seize and sell America’s public lands. In Colorado, this issue is currently dividing the state since more than a third of Colorado is publically owned. Yet, only a portion of Colorado’s 64 counties have taken a stance on the issue – with Park County being the latest to oppose public land transfer.

This week, the Board of Park County Commissioners officially passed a resolution to block the transfer or sale of national public lands to the state of Colorado or its local governments. This resolution illustrates the county’s dedication to keeping public land available to anyone that wants to use it whether it is for hunting, fishing, or any outdoor recreational activity.

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“Park County is cherished for its top-notch fisheries, beautiful open landscape, and exceptional wildlife habitat,” says Nick Payne, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership’s Colorado field representative. “There’s no doubt that the county is doing the right thing for its residents, and all Americans, by supporting one of our nation’s greatest treasures—our public lands.”

While Park County may be in support of keeping public lands free and accessible, not every county in the state agrees. Only seven Colorado counties in total have formally opposed this land seizure, according to the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Fund. Three others, including Montezuma County, actually support the land transfer agenda. In fact, the Montezuma County Board of Commissioners donated $1,000 to the American Lands Council in 2015, which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to state and private takeover of the nation’s public lands, according to

While the amendment needs further legislation until it can become law, it is one that many will continue to monitor closely. Experts anticipate this issue being one that voters – particularly hunters and anglers – will focus on during the upcoming presidential election.


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Matt G. - posted 3 years ago on 03-30-2016 04:32:36 pm
Mesa, AZ

I would agree with both comments below. I want to keep the lands public but I also want to be able to use the resources in them to keep them running and making upgrades to them. I know not everyone is for logging and mining but these are some ways that if correctly used the money made could keep the parks going and lessening the fires. Why not use them?
I worked for the forest service a long time ago but I remember how hard it was to get proscribed burns and logging aloud in the areas that needed it. These other left-wing groups like PETA and the Sierra Club would tie up the forest service in lawsuits for years to stop these from happening. We need to be able to use our resources and not destroy them by being ignorant.
It's really time for the real protectors of the forest and wildlife to start taking over these government offices so that we can save our public lands and resources.

Larry C. - posted 3 years ago on 03-24-2016 10:48:01 am

24 March 016
Many over the years have destroyed what was known as the Wild West & those animal’s indigenous to these areas. This destruction continued until those with long-term preservation, created National Parks & Wild Life Management. This created Yellow Stone, Rocky Mt. & Estes Park. Area’s enjoyed by millions today. Has there been an over-reaching by Federal & Public Lands in CO., AZ, UT, WY, MT and the other Western States? I believe they have and done a very poor job of managing these National & Public Assets, to the point of losing millions of Acers to fires & closing or limiting National Parks hours claiming lack of funds. Believe all these areas should be self-sustaining with an annual set funding by Congress. Funds should be strictly controlled to cover the actual cost to preserve, improve and maintain these Assets.
Our National & Public Lands need to be protected for future generations and hopefully with a serious common sense approach. Does this mean we can’t sell certain parts, No? But no one person or agency should have that right, it’s the Peoples Right to Advise & Consent on any sale of National & Public Lands.

Sandra C. - posted 3 years ago on 03-24-2016 08:19:20 am

This is a SAD day!!! The public land of America NEEDS to always belong to the people and stay public lands... Let's all fight this everyone!!!! Let's keep our public land public!!!!