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Feds Listen to Coloradans on 'America's Great Outdoors'
7/16/2010
Credit:
Author: Eric Mack, Public News Service - CO Public News Service URL: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/index.php?/content/article/14982-1
Feds Listen to Coloradans on 'America's Great Outdoors'
July 16, 2010

GOLDEN/GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Colorado gets a chance to chime in on the future of our great outdoors today. There are listening sessions planned on the Front Range and Western Slope as part of the federal government's "America's Great Outdoors" initiative. Representatives from federal agencies will be taking down ideas and comments from the public on how to preserve the places they love, and U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar plans to speak at both sessions.

David Weinstein, outreach coordinator with the Outdoor Industry Association, says that, for them, planning for the future isn't just about being able to sell more gear: it's about preserving a part of our heritage.

"Driving people toward our public lands will hopefully instill a love of them, and in return, the conservation."

He adds that preserving treasured places is also good for the struggling economy. In Colorado, the outdoor industry accounts for $10 billion spent annually, and 107,000 jobs.

Colorado fly-fishing guide Ken Iwamasa says our state's rivers and streams are ground zero in many ways for water quality west of the Mississippi, since all water flows downhill.

"What we do up here at the upper elevations, eventually it goes downstream. It's not just for rafters or boaters, it's for everyone that's downstream from us as well."

He says that full funding of the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund is one way he'd like to see the federal government help conserve the outdoors.

The listening sessions are in Grand Junction from 9 a.m. to noon at the Two Rivers Convention Center, and Golden from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Denver West Marriott Hotel.

More information is at www.doi.gov