Outdoor Retailer - July 2021 - 23

Feature .01
which many have been fighting for generations-the
100,000 acres of wilderness and
recreation and conservation areas in the
White River National Forest, the Thompson
Divide withdrawal. Behind every provision
of this legislation stands a large group of folks
at the grassroots level who have worked very
hard to get the bill to where it is today.
I am hopeful that this year will be the
year that we finally get this done. Of course,
Sen. (Michael) Bennet and Sen. (John)
Hickenlooper, our new senator in the United
States Senate representing Colorado, are both
working tremendously hard to get it across
the finish line in the Senate. We also now have
a White House that expressed its support, so
with a White House that has committed to
signing this bill, and with two Democratic senators
from the state of Colorado championing
the measure, I am very optimistic about the
potential of its passage later this year.
COLORADO'S OUTDOOR RECREATION ECONOMY
IS HUGE-IT ACCOUNTS FOR $37 BILLION IN CONSUMER
SPENDING ANNUALLY AND MORE THAN A
HALF A MILLION JOBS, AND A LOT OF THAT HAPPENS
IN YOUR DISTRICT. BUT YOU ALSO REPRESENT
GROWING SUBURBS, RANCH LANDS, AND RURAL
COMMUNITIES WHERE FOLKS LIKE THEIR OIL AND
GAS INDUSTRY JOBS. WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY
FOR ADVOCATING FOR PROGRESSIVE CLIMATE ACTION
AND WILDERNESS PROTECTION WITH CONSTITUENTS
WITH SUCH DIVERSE INTERESTS?
Our approach has always been to do what
we describe as leading locally, which is listening
and following the leadership at the
local level that we see reflected in communities
across the 2nd district. As you said,
I represent a district that is very diverse,
and geographically it's larger than the state
of New Jersey. We have incredible public
lands-over 50% of my district is public
lands-some of the best skiing in the world,
in places like Vail and Breck and Winter Park,
and the White River National Forest and the
suburbs in Boulder and Larimer County. My
experience has been that my constituents,
whether they're in rural areas or urban areas
or mountain communities, all care, fundamentally,
about protecting our environment
and protecting these public lands that we're
so blessed to have in our state because it's
part of our way of life; it's key to the ethos of
every Coloradan...the next logical extension
of (that) is the existential threat of climate
change and taking climate action, and doing
so on an expedited time table.
My experience has been that the communities
I represent support the bold climate
action proposals that we've introduced in the
United States Congress. I represent a district
that arguably has more localities that have
committed to 100% renewable energy than
in any other district in the country. When we
introduce measures like turning the Capitol
complex to 100% renewable energy by 2032,
it's to follow the lead of the community I represent
and try to emulate the positive public
policy that's enacted here at the local level at
the federal level.
I think our constituents are supportive
of taking on the existential threat of climate
change because, of course, they also experience
the visceral impacts of it every day, and
YOU'VE BEEN TOURING THOSE BURN SCARS AND
HARD-HIT TOWNS THIS SPRING. THE AMERICAN
RESCUE PLAN IS PROVIDING SOME AID TO THOSE
LOCAL ECONOMIES RIGHT NOW, BUT HOW ARE
YOU HOPING TO HELP THOSE COMMUNITIES IN
THE COMING YEARS AS WE CONTINUE TO FACE
CLIMATE-CHANGE-AFFECTED WILDFIRE SEASONS?
IS THAT SOMETHING YOUR CIVILIAN
CONSERVATION CORPS BILL WILL ADDRESS?
That's precisely right. We're pretty excited
about the proposal because we believe that with
great challenges come great opportunities.
Wildfires, and climate change more broadly, is
a massive challenge for our community, for our
state, for our country, for our planet.
As it relates to the Rocky Mountain West
and the real, pervasive risk of wildfires and
a wildfire season that is no longer a season
but is yearlong, according to most fire officials
you speak to in our state, we really need
a massive investment in terms of resiliency,
mitigation, suppression, recovery-all under
this broad theme of restoring our lands
and, in turn, restoring our communities. And
that's what motivated us to introduce the 21st
Century Civilian Conservation Corps, which
has gained a lot of momentum since we introduced
it last year with Sen. (Ron) Wyden
(D-Oregon). And of course we're grateful
that President Biden has made it a priority
of his, as enunciated in the American Jobs
Plan. It's a $10 billion investment taking a
page out of FDR's playbook to reimagine the
Conservation Corps of the 1930s, which literally
built Red Rocks.
I was just there. We did a multiple-day
perhaps the most recent display of that was
the terrible wildfires we experienced last year,
when in the span of six months, our district
was the epicenter for wildfires in Colorado.
The two largest wildfires in the history of our
state-a 137-year history-were in my district,
in Grand County and Larimer County, last
October, raging simultaneously. So when I
have conversations with folks in Grand Lake
or in Larimer County, in Fort Collins or Estes
Park, there is strong consensus among those
I talk to that we have to take decisive action to
fight climate change and to build resiliency
within our communities.
tour across our district, and we ended at Mt.
Morrison Civil Conservation Camp, which
is one of the few camps of its nature that are
preserved. And to see the architectural masterpiece
that is Red Rocks and to learn more
about the incredible work done by that generation's
triple C, and to think that we could
apply that same ingenuity and creativity and
imagination today, and to employ a new generation
of workers in our public lands, doing
trail restoration, maintenance work, addressing
the deferred maintenance backlog in our
national parks, like Rocky Mountain National
Park, which I have the pleasure of representing
and is a crown jewel in the NPS system,
doing wildlife habitat preservation-there's
a massive need for that type of investment. So
the triple C would be an attempt to provide that
investment, and we think would be an incredJuly
2021 / OUTDOOR RETAILER 23

Outdoor Retailer - July 2021

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