Our View: Get involved in DOW decision | CraigDailyPress.com

Our View: Get involved in DOW decision

Decisions the Colorado Division of Wildlife makes now have the power to affect a huge portion of Craig’s economy.

Yet, it seems that few Craig residents are interested enough to become educated and participate.

About 80 people attended a community meeting Thursday night. Although that’s stellar attendance for a public meeting, and those who attended had no problem voicing their opinions, they represented a small portion of landowners and hunting enthusiasts.

Conspicuous in their absence were the businesses owners who will be most affected by the state’s proposal to drastically reduce the number of licenses available to out-of-state hunters.

The economic lifeblood of Moffat County depends on two things: Energy and tourism. Energy and natural resource development is driven by technology and available resources — things that residents can do very little about.

Tourism, on the other hand, is something that residents can affect, and hunting is a critical component of Moffat County’s tourist industry.

Hunting and fishing contribute $26 million to the county’s economy, according to a 2002 BBC Research & Consulting study.

Some local businesses estimate that more than 30 percent of their business comes during hunting season.

Statewide, hunting and fishing generated an estimated $1.5 billion for Colorado’s economy, including $800 million in direct and $700 million in indirect revenues.

Reducing the number of out-of-state licenses sold means there are fewer hunters traveling to Colorado, dropping money at restaurants, bars, supply stores and with outfitters.

They also won’t have the chance to see this beautiful state and choose to return in the summer with their families.

Local business owners should be at the forefront of those opposing the plan — or at the very least, educating themselves about its potential impacts.

If they don’t they stand up for their businesses, no one else will. Although the Craig Chamber of Commerce sent a representative to Thursday’s meeting, there was no input from the Craig/Moffat County Economic Development Partnership or the Moffat County Tourism Association.

And, only one person on the 15-member license allocation workgroup represents the interests of small businesses.

The squeaky wheel gets greased, and if landowners continue to squeak about their need for more licenses at the expense of out-of-state allocations, they are the ones whose voices will be heard.

After all, no one else is screaming.

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