Scott Tipton: Big win for public lands
During my time in Congress, I have worked on preserving and protecting Colorado’s pristine open spaces and sites of historic and cultural importance while maintaining historic multiple use access for communities and visitors. These special places are a part of daily life for those of us fortunate enough to call Colorado home and attract countless tourists from all around the world. This week, Congress took further strides to ensuring responsible management and preservation of Colorado’s public lands for generations to come by sending the bipartisan Natural Resources Management Act (S. 47) to the president’s desk.
This legislative package includes permanent authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The LWCF has played a crucial role in increasing access to recreation in several areas across Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. Some recent examples include the 2017 purchases of the Sanburg property, which increased access for hikers into the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, and the Slick Rock Parcel, which added an access point for boaters to the Dolores River.
Along with provisions to increase recreational access on public lands, the legislation also included two bills I was proud to lead in the House: The Fowler and Boskoff Peaks Designation Act and the Every Kid Outdoors Act.
The Fowler and Boskoff Peaks Designation Act will rename two 13,000-foot peaks in the Uncompahgre National Forest after two extraordinary mountaineers, Charlie Fowler and Christine Boskoff, who spent their lives summiting some of the world’s tallest peaks. The legacies of the two longtime San Miguel County residents will now be shared with all who visit Western Colorado.
The Every Kid Outdoors Act grants free admission for fourth-graders and their accompanying family members to National Parks and Monuments. While many children in Colorado grow up with significant public lands practically in their own backyards, economic barriers may prevent them from visiting those lands. Passing the Every Kid Outdoors Act removes these potential barriers to help ensure every child has the opportunity to visit our national treasures, such as the Great Sand Dunes, Mesa Verde, and so many other parks and monuments.
In addition to kids being able to learn from these experiences and have a great time, introducing youth to national parks and monuments is a great way to create future stewards of public lands.
From fishing and kayaking, to skiing and hiking, public lands provide valuable opportunities for all Americans. It continues to be my priority in Congress to increase opportunities for outdoor recreation, preserve multiple use of public lands, and protect these special places for generations to come. I was glad to see overwhelming bipartisan support for the Natural Resources Management Act, and I look forward to seeing it signed by the president.
Scott R. Tipton represents Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving on the House Committee on Financial Services. Tipton is executive vice chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus and co-chairman of the Congressional Small Business Caucus.
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