Trick question (not): Who should be on the commission responsible for overseeing Colorado’s Parks Department and Division of Wildlife, recently formed after the merger of the state’s Parks and Wildlife Divisions:
a) members of special interest groups, such as multiple agriculture, hunting and motorized trail representatives; OR
b) science and biology experts who can make the best decisions in keeping with the agency’s mission?¹
House bill HB12-1317², which legislates the commission using Option (a) above, is moving through Colorado’s legislature. As noted in an earlier Action Alert, the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter (RMC) supports the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission proposed composition³ as stated in a letter written in December, 2011, by Kirk Cunningham, our Conservation Co-Chair, to Mike King, Director, Colorado Department of Natural Resources.
That recommendation went through months of stakeholder meetings, and takes the proposed composition of special-interests to the limit of our ability to compromise Colorado’s parks and wildlife decision-making. But the proposed bill has taken on a character of leaning heavily towards special interests, and away from public interests.
Tell your State Representative, as well as Senator Gail Schwartz, Chair of Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee, and Governor Hickenlooper to support the original Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission’s recommended composition, which balances the perspectives of the various stakeholders who care about state parks and state wildlife populations.
State Commissions have a lot of power and this new entity will last for years – if not decades. Demand that Colorado’s parks and wilderness areas be managed by those committed to their long-term sustainability. We need to get this right, right from the start.
Thanks for all you do for the environment.
Mary Coday Edwards
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¹ Agency Mission: “… to perpetuate the wildlife resources of the state, to provide a quality state park system, and to provide enjoyable and sustainable outdoor recreation opportunities that educate and inspire current and future generations to serve as active stewards of Colorado’s natural resources.” (http://dnr.state.co.us/DPW/Pages/Board.aspx, viewed 03.09.12)
² For information on the bill, see RMC’s Legislative Tracker at http://rmc.sierraclub.org/tracker.shtml
³ See http://dnr.state.co.us/DPW/Pages/Board.aspx to read the “Final Recommendations of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission on Legislative Declaration and Agency Mission, and Commission Composition”