Officials back local for board
County commissioners endorse man for wildlife position
Local support is growing for a Routt County man trying to get on the Colorado Wildlife Commission.
Kelly Sewell, of Slater, is trying to get Gov. Bill Owens to appoint him to the commission, which sets state wildlife policies.
At Tuesday’s Moffat County commissioners meeting, commissioners threw their support behind Sewell.
Commissioners voted to send a letter to Owens recommending Sewell for a seat on the 11-member commission.
Three wildlife commissioners’ terms expire in March, opening three seats on the board.
Routt County commissioners support Sewell for the wildlife commission, as well.
Craig Chamber of Commerce executive director Annette Gian–inetti asked commissioners to support Sewell.
Gianinetti is one of a handful of local officials working to get someone from Northwest Colorado on the commission.
The region has more wildlife and draws more hunters than anywhere else in Colorado, but nobody on the commission is from the northwest corner of the state.
Wildlife commissioners last fall came under fire from local business leaders when they voted to change hunting license allocation rules.
The new rules mean more licenses for in-state hunters at the expense of out-of-state hunters.
Many in-state hunters, however, applauded the decision because they said it would give them a better chance to hunt.
Sewell, who is a rancher and runs a small hunting guide business, said he opposed the changes to the allocation rules.
“I think Colorado is a pretty generous state, and we need to stay that way,” he said.
Sewell said he is familiar with a variety of wildlife issues.
He has experience working with water conservation districts and fisheries, he said.
He is also familiar with the often-criticized Ranching for Wildlife program, which gives landowners extra licenses and extended seasons in exchange for providing habitat for wildlife.
His ranch in the northwest corner of Routt County borders Ranching for Wildlife ranches.
Sewell has never held public office and said he usually keeps a pretty low profile.
Moffat County Commis–sioner Darryl Steele said at Tues–day’s meeting that Sewell faces an uphill battle for one of the highly sought seats on the commission.
Amy Jo Denning, deputy director of the governor’s office of boards and commissions, said 30 people have applied for the three seats that will open in March.
Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Routt County is working with both Rio Blanco and Moffat counties and municipalities across northwestern Colorado to create an umbrella organization to better coordinate and pursue economic development in the region.