This land is your land. This land is my land. This land belongs to you and me.
Public lands are taken for granted by Coloradans. Now we must become more alert and protective than ever before.
Nationally Held Lands (“federal lands”). Our first progressive president, Teddy Roosevelt, signed the Antiquities Act into law in 1906. Many in Congress who voted for it expected the president to name one or two National Monuments. Teddy rapidly created 19 – including Devil’s Tower, Grand Canyon, and Muir Woods. The forces of greedy “dirty” and “unsustainable” industries waged war on this law from the start, but public support kept it in place for more than a century. To date, presidents have created 122 national monuments and 59 national parks. Today the Antiquities Act is on the chopping block. APA members will fight that effort.
The vast majority of open lands in Colorado are national forests and BLM lands. These lands are intertwined with private and other lands throughout most of the state. The current heads of EPA, Interior, and Energy will make it more challenging than it has been in 110 years to protect our parks, monuments, national forests, and BML lands – from air and water pollution and from outright sales or sweetheart leases to cronies and other private entities.
In January 2017, House Republicans introduced a bill to “dispose of federal lands” – including 100,000 acres here in Colorado. Rep. Chaffutz’ move produced a huge public outcry and he backed off. Then in December 2017, the current administration shrank Bears Ears National Monument by 85% and cut Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to about half its original size. Unfortunately, they will be back again when they think we are not looking. APA members need to watch and act.
Arvada Lands. Arvada is unique among metro suburbs in owning so much beautiful public land, a 3,400 acre system of open spaces, parks, and trails. Combined with nearby national open land, this gives our city a strong connection with nature. By 2017, developers had used all available sizable private parcels in Arvada and are now building “fill in” housing clusters. We must monitor the management of Arvada open spaces to ensure that none of our public land is ever sold for development. We will also keep our focus on implementation of the 2016 Parks, Trails and Open Space Master Plan.
Colorado Lands. The state owns relatively little land, mostly 42 parks and 300 wildlife areas. But Colorado Parks and Wildlife manages all of Colorado's wildlife. The State Land Board administers about 7 million acres of nationally owned lands in trust for the purpose of generating revenues for public schools and public institutions. The fossil fuel industry has long received favored treatment on those lands.