Interior secretary, a Colorado native, dedicates conservation area

Excerpts:

The Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area sets a pattern for modern public-lands management and, perhaps, for new solutions to American divisions, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Tuesday during the dedication of the NCA.

Speaking to more than 100 people atop a bluff overlooking the Gunnison River hundreds of feet below, where Mesa and Delta counties join, Salazar, a Democrat, praised Republican county commissioners as the drivers who pushed through the designation of the conservation area.

“We can use this as a template to unify our country,” Salazar said of the local efforts.

…The economic value of such places as the nearly 210,000 acres of lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management can hardly be understated, he said. Such lands attract tourists, adventure seekers and others that form the basis of a stable tourism economy, he said. “These are not jobs that can be exported anywhere,” Salazar said.