HB12-1317 is a bill that defines the makeup of the future Parks and Wildlife Commission (PWC), and is up for hearings in the House Agriculture Committee this week. Some problems with this bill include:
It enshrines a motorized recreation position on the Commission. The fact is, many of us own OHVs, but don’t think a specific seat on the commission is necessary, given that motorized users already have their own committee for state trails. And the motorized industry has no purpose being involved in decisions that should be guided by science and the needs of wildlife/fisheries. If we start down this path, do we then demand that there be a backcountry hunting and fishing seat, one for mountain biking, archery hunting, backcountry horsemen, etc?
- Giving a seat specifically to the motorized community will most likely result in it being filled by a motorized industry advocate who puts industry (i.e., selling motorized equipment and punching more habitat-damaging trails through our public lands) over the conservation desires and needs of most Coloradans.
- The legislation removes the designated seats for recreation. Under the new proposal, a “trail interest” seat is designated, but to qualify a member must have motorized experience. This artificially screens out hikers, hunters, climbers, and others with outdoors experience simply because they don’t engage in a “motorized activity.”
- The legislation removes from the commission’s proposal the designated seat for conservation.
Given the widespread public lands damaged being caused by OHV overuse and abuse in Colorado and nationwide, this proposal is also akin to “letting the fox into the hen house,” and a slap in the face to the majority of hunters/anglers and other outdoorsmen and women who have worked hard to protect and perpetuate public lands for current and future generations.
Take a minute and send an e-mail to your state legislators telling them to oppose HB12-1317 in its current form. First, if you don’t know your nine-digit zip code, use this link to find it: https://tools.usps.com/go/ZipLookupAction!input.action
Then, to find your state elected officials (this will take less than a minute), go to: http://www.votesmart.org/official_state.php
Enter you zip code in the “Search” box at the top right and look under “State Legislative” for your Reps. and Senators. Then click through to find their “Contact Information” for e-mail addresses. Last, compose a short e-mail stating that you are a hunter/angler/outdoorsman or woman and are concerned about the issue at hand (as noted above).
Let’s help send this bill back for revision, to reflect the interests of most of the citizens of Colorado, not a vocal and/or industry-connected few.
David A. Lien
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers