Stand with CDTC to protect our National Monuments!
In 2017, the administration began an unprecedented review of our National Monuments, deciding in December to drastically shrink Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah. In Colorado, where the health of our economy depends on outdoor recreation, we are calling upon our strong trail community to speak out. The following letter was delivered to our elected officials on December 4.
If you are a business owner in Colorado, it’s not too late to add your name! To do so, click on the link below:
To: the Colorado Congressional delegation and Governor Hickenlooper
CC: Secretary Ryan Zinke, Department of the Interior
Re: National monuments review by Trump Administration
Date: December 4th, 2017
Dear members of the Colorado Congressional delegation and Governor Hickenlooper,
As business owners in the Rocky Mountain state of Colorado we believe in protecting our public lands and our outdoors. The outdoors defines our way of life here, supports our businesses and our communities. This is clearly demonstrated by our state’s bipartisan support for attracting and bringing the Outdoor Retailer shows to Colorado. Our support for our public lands in Colorado is a main reason we have landed this opportunity.
We are concerned about the recent “review” of America’s national monuments conducted by the Department of the Interior (DOI). The review happened largely behind closed doors, with the public only getting insight through a leaked memo drafted by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, which suggests that he will be recommending shrinking the size and increasing industrial development on numerous national monuments. His recommendations include changes to several monuments here in the West. It would appear that the monuments review is mostly intended to enable the development and auction of public lands – for the benefit of private companies and individuals.
As business owners that benefit from our national monuments, protected public lands, and the increased tourism their designations create, we urge you to advise the Trump Administration to end this review and leave our existing national monuments’ borders and protective policies intact.
While Colorado’s recent national monuments have been removed from the list of monuments being reviewed by the DOI, that does not alleviate our concerns about this sustained attack on our protected public lands. Potential recommended changes to national monuments erodes our faith in the current Administration to keep our state’s national monuments – and public lands more broadly – protected for future generations. For many of us, the decision to invest in Colorado was based on the promise that the state’s natural attractions and access to outdoor recreation activities remain pristine and easily accessible for our customers and employees.
We are also alarmed about other recent attempts to undermine the Antiquities Act – the very tool that ensures national monuments can continue to be protected despite gridlock in Congress. A bill recently introduced by Utah’s Representative Rob Bishop — H.R. 3990 – demeans our system of public lands and threatens protections for future generations.
We thank you for your continued leadership in Washington, D.C., and for creating opportunities for businesses and commerce to thrive back home in Colorado. In particular, for rural Colorado, where jobs and economic opportunities are more difficult to sustain, our state’s natural beauty and access to wild spaces and outdoor recreation benefits our bottom line. Our state’s national monuments, including Canyons of the Ancients near Cortez, Chimney Rock National Monument near Pagosa Springs, and Browns Canyon National Monument near Salida, among others, help contribute to our businesses’ success. Combined, employment and visitor spending to national monuments and protected cultural resources in Southwest Colorado totaled 1,340 jobs, $42.2 million in labor income, $67 million in value added, and $113.6 million of economic output in 2016.
More broadly, the outdoor recreation industry in Colorado generates $28 billion in consumer spending and $9.7 billion in wages and salaries each year. These numbers are impossible to ignore and we want to ensure that our small, medium, and large businesses continue to benefit from that spending.
We have all witnessed these and many other secondary benefits in our own businesses. Without our state’s natural beauty and public lands bringing tourists and residents alike to rural communities, many of us would cease to grow or even exist. Our businesses depend on national monuments and the permanent protections they provide to our public lands to draw tourism, grow property values, attract and recruit employees, and keep Colorado one of the fastest growing economies in the West. In fact, from 1970 to 2010, western non-metro counties with more than 30% of the county’s land base in federal protected status, increased jobs by 262% more than non-metro counties with no protected federal public lands.
This is not a matter of conservation versus economic development, but rather economic development dependent on conservation.
Lastly, we know the vast majority of our customers and clients agree with us. When the period for public commentary on President Trump’s monument review was opened, more than 2.8 million Americans wrote to oppose attacks on national parks, public lands and waters. More than 99% of all comments received expressed support for maintaining or expanding national monuments. Attempts to undermine the protection of America’s public lands, the Antiquities Act, and national monuments do not serve the interests of the people of Colorado, our businesses, or our communities, and is clearly not the will of the American people. We the undersigned 179 businesses urge you to stand up for our national monuments by helping to end this job-killing review and efforts to roll back our national monuments. Thank you for your attention.