BLM looking ahead to preserve land

The document that is referenced in “Documents reveal ‘monumental’ plans for land by BLM” in the Aug. 15 edition of The Daily Sentinel is a forward-thinking and practical conservation vision that works for Colorado’s people, land and resources. The internal discussion document, “Treasured Landscapes: Our Vision Our Values” balances the current uses of Bureau of Land Management public lands recognizing that “public support and acceptance of preservation status is best achieved when the public has an opportunity to participate in the land-use planning or legislative process.”

The time is ripe for innovative management of our shared public lands. Last month, the Obama administration officials visited Grand Junction to listen to western Coloradans’ ideas about conservation as part of its America’s Great Outdoors initiative. At the listening session, officials heard from us about better ways to protect and restore our lands and waters that sustain our communities.

One recent success story that the administration can learn from is right here in western Colorado: the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area and, within that NCA, the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness. These protected lands exemplify what the Treasured Landscapes document and America’s Great Outdoors can and should achieve through better land management and protection.

The process that brought about the protection of these two beloved areas is a key theme in the document and America’s Great Outdoors: one of local, inclusive discussions, and carefully crafted legislation. While we can always learn from such experiences how to improve similar efforts in the future, western Coloradans now see benefits from these protected lands and waters in their agriculture, water supplies, and abundant recreation activities.

Together, the Treasured Landscapes document and America’s Great Outdoors can help shape conservation for the 21st century. With public input and governmental leadership, we can protect our lands that benefit the health and well being of future generations.