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FHTF Meeting
Wednesday, February 15 2017, 12:00pm - 1:30pm

Our Public Lands: Locals Approach to Control, Ownership, Stewardship and Trust Building

Almost 80% of Summit County is publicly-owned land, primarily managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Recreational activities on our lands include skiing, boarding, snowmobiling, biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, camping, motorized vehicle recreation and a host of other outdoor activities. Our public lands are the primary economic driver for Summit County. Economic activities built on, around, and benefiting from our public lands include 4 major ski/summer resorts, real estate, timber, mining and outfitters. Our Summit County way of life is built on citizen access to our great outdoors. Whether monetary or as a quality of life for you, we all have a stake in our public lands. And yet, many times we take our ownership interest for granted.

Along with ownership comes responsibility. If we truly care about our public lands, we must be actively engaged in their management. This means vigorous community engagement with the U.S. Forest Service, the BLM, and the Colorado State Forest Service along with volunteer efforts to build and maintain trails and campgrounds are critical. This is our responsibility as citizens, stakeholders and public landowners.

Summit Daily News reporter, Kevin Fixler, did substantial research into U.S. HR621, which proposed to sell off 3.4 million acres of public land in the West. The bill was withdrawn, but the sentiment among some lawmakers to divest of public lands remains. Kevin updated us on his research and participated in a roundtable discussion.