The following letter was published by the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the original version can be found here.
Hunting big game in wild backcountry is one of my lifelong passions. While the time spent tromping around with rifle or bow in impossibly rough off-trail terrain amounts to only a week or two each year, there’s much more to it. The whole experience includes scouting trips, poring over maps, scheming and dreaming about future hunts over beers and last years elk steak, and living it all over through the photos and stories told on storm bound winter days. Hunting has provided some of the best times spent with my son as well as old and new friends.
Here in western Colorado we are blessed with a wide variety of different areas and types of terrain to hunt in. We can hunt the high Rockies in September and desert canyons in November. That is an incredible part of the heritage we can choose to pass on to our children and grandchildren.
Unfortunately, as anyone knows who has lived here for a few decades, population growth, energy development, ATV proliferation and all sorts of other human activities have steadily eroded quality wildlife habitat and backcountry hunting opportunities.
For hunters it is critical that the land management agencies prioritize planning decisions that preserve, protect and enhance undeveloped wildlife habitat, as well as opportunities to hunt in a wild, natural, backcountry setting.
Currently the BLM Grand Junction Field Office and Dominguez–Escalante National Conservation Area are in the process of writing resource management plans that will establish how these areas are managed.
It’s critical that they maintain the wild backcountry lands that hunters and wildlife depend on.