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Coloradans’ way of life is intertwined with public lands.

How do you connect with public lands? Recreationally? Culturally? Financially? Chances are, as a Colorado resident or visitor, your life is more intimately linked to our national public lands than you’d imagine. Obviously if you play outside in Colorado, you’re probably hiking, biking, skiing, boating, climbing, hunting, or driving on Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management or Park Service lands. But remember: If you frequent a restaurant that caters to tourists; if you have friends who work in the environmental field; if you enjoy scenic vistas, photos and paintings of Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods; or if you rent your house to a seasonal worker or weekend visitor … without public lands, these unique community assets would be lost.

On Monday, President Trump headed to Utah to undercut protection for public lands across the country and threaten the resources that our local economies depend on. In response, over 150 Colorado businesses have submitted a letter asking Congressional Representatives and the Administration to end this attack on National Monuments and the Antiquities Act. Combined, employment and visitor spending to national monuments and protected cultural resources in Southwest Colorado totaled 1,340 jobs and $42.2 million in labor income. More broadly, the outdoor recreation industry in Colorado generates $28 billion in consumer spending and $9.7 billion in wages and salaries each year. The statistics are impossible to ignore, and the benefits to Coloradans’ quality of life are immeasurable. Our businesses have taken a stance. Now it’s your turn: Take a moment to remind your local, state and federal leaders that your connection to Public Lands intersects with virtually all aspects of life and it is important to protect these landscapes for generations to come.

By Heidi Deets, Littleton

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