Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 22

OUTDOORISTS MIGHT
NOT KNOW THE NAME
JOE NEGUSE, BUT
THEY'VE PROBABLY
RECREATED IN THE
DISTRICT HE REPRESENTS
IN CONGRESS.
Boulder's iconic Flatirons, Vail's Back Bowls,
Rocky Mountain National Park's 350 miles
of trails-it's all in Rep. Neguse's district:
Colorado's 2nd.
Given what lies within the boundaries of his
district, it's no surprise that Neguse spends
a lot of his time on Capitol Hill championing
the interests of people who love to play outside
and the outdoor industry itself. His recent
legislative pushes have included reintroducing
the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and
Economy (CORE) Act, which would protect
400,000 acres of public lands in the state; the
Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation
(SOAR) Act to streamline the permitting
process for outdoor guides and outfitters;
and the Ski Hill Resources for Economic
Development, or SHRED Act, which would
let local national forests keep some of the
fees ski areas pay to the U.S. Forest Service
to support recreation here (such as trail and
facilities maintenance, permitting, and other
visitor services).
" The outdoor recreation economy is a huge
economic driver for the state of Colorado, and
in particular in my congressional district, but
it's also part of our way of life in Colorado, " he
says. He cited an example-himself: " I'm driving
home right now, and tomorrow morning,
my wife and I are planning on going on a hike
with our daughter on one of Boulder County's
amazing hikes, just a few miles away. " (His
little girl, Natalie, will turn 3 in August.)
The 37-year-old congressman was just
elected to the House in 2018, but he got his
start in politics early. When he was a recent
college graduate, he started a youth voter-registration
and mobilization nonprofit, New Era
Colorado, and in 2008, while he was in law
school, he was elected to the board of regents
of his alma mater, University of Colorado. His
election to represent Colorado's 2nd marked
some firsts: the son of East African refugees,
22 OUTDOOR RETAILER / July 2021
Neguse talks to
constituents during
a work project at
Rocky Mountain
National Park.
OUR APPROACH HAS ALWAYS BEEN TO DO WHAT WE
DESCRIBE AS LEADING LOCALLY, WHICH IS LISTENING
AND FOLLOWING THE LEADERSHIP AT THE LOCAL LEVEL...
Neguse is the first Eritrean American to serve
in Congress, and he's Colorado's first African
American representative on the Hill as well.
But he sees his service in the U.S. House
of Representatives as part of a tradition of
leadership from Coloradans on public lands
and conservation issues. " We have long been
a state that has had an outsize role in shaping
federal public policy as it relates to public
lands, " Neguse says. " We've had multiple
Coloradans who've served as secretary of the
interior, and I now serve as the chair of the
public lands subcommittee in the House, and
it's part and parcel to having a state that is
both rich in incredible public lands and wilderness
areas, and a population, a citizenry,
that is very much committed to preserving
those lands and recognizes the inherent need
for us to do that. "
Neguse spoke to Outdoor Retailer (just
after arriving at the Denver airport on a trip
home from Washington) about climate
change, wildfires in the West, his modern take
on the Civilian Conservation Corps, the ski
fee retention bill, and how he's trying to help
guides and outfitters after a tough year.
CONGRESSMAN, WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO TO GET
THE CORE ACT PASSED? ARE WE GOING TO BE ABLE
TO DO IT THIS YEAR?
I am hoping that this year is the year that
we finally get this done and get it across the
finish line. We've passed the CORE Act three
times in the House over the course of the last
two-and-a-half years. It has broad bipartisan
support; it's one of the few public lands bills
that has significant support within each local
jurisdiction that will be impacted by the bill.
Obviously some of the protections that are
included in the CORE Act are protections for

Outdoor Retailer - July 2021

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