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Gabe Kiritz | 05.04.2017

This is an exciting week for Colorado and an auspicious watermark for public lands across the country. This coming Saturday, May 20, marks the first "Colorado Public Lands Day," an official and state-recognized holiday celebrating the value of Colorado's parks, forests, rivers and other public recreational lands.

In May, 2016, Colorado became the first state in the nation to pass a bipartisan bill designating a day (the third Saturday in May) as the state's official Public Lands Day, bringing attention to, and perhaps more importantly, recognizing the value of our public lands. The Public Lands Day bill states the holiday recognizes "significant contributions that national, state and local public lands within Colorado make to wildlife, recreation, the economy and to Coloradans' quality of life."  

Visitors look over Cliff Palace at Colorado's Mesa Verde National Park. Photo by Denis Leblanc.

For Coloradans, the official recognition of the importance of our public lands could not have come at a more critical juncture. The public lands debate has reached a crescendo with the recent executive order by President Trump calling for Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke to review dozens of national monuments across the country. The passing of the Colorado Public Lands Day bill, and the over 100 events planned to celebrate the day around the state, demonstrate that Coloradans oppose any action undermining our public lands and that could transfer them to state and private interest control.

Beyond celebrating the value of our public lands, this legislation has triggered a domino effect, compelling other states across the West and the country to introduce similar legislation that highlights the value of the outdoor economy and how public lands lie at the core. These acts are needed now more than ever and strengthen the collective voice around the message that public lands matter.

What better way to celebrate our public lands this Saturday than lacing up our boots and getting outside to explore one of these magnificent places? We can't think of many. In honor of our Public Lands Day we've pulled together a list of 10 eclectic Colorado adventures, from camping and hiking to mountain biking and backcountry skiing, that you'll find waiting for you on our public lands!

Please join Conservation Colorado, Outdoor Project, and our fellow Coloradans in getting outside to celebrate our public lands on May 20, and take action by helping send a loud message to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to protect our public lands!

Conservation Colorado is also hosting events around the state on May 20, so come out to celebrate:

  • Golden - American Mountaineering Center - 5 to 7 p.m. - U.S. Congressman Ed Perlmutter and Conservation Colorado Executive Director Pete Maysmith will discuss the threats and opportunities facing our public lands; live music by members of Elephant Revival, films from 5Point Film Festival; raffle prizes from Arc'teryx, Patagonia and Mountain Khakis. Free admission.
  • Durango - Powerhouse Science Center - 6 to 10 p.m. - The biggest party in Southwest Colorado celebrating our public lands. There will be live music, dancing, a public lands photo contest, food, and beer from local breweries. Free admission.
  • Grand Junction - 4th and Main St - 12 p.m. - Epic Rides race series with Governor John Hickenlooper speaking about public lands from the event main stage. Free admission. 
  • Keystone - Arapahoe Basin Ski Area - 9 a.m. - Rocky Mountain Underground, Conservation Colorado, and Snowriders International celebrate our public lands during Arapahoe Basin’s annual Swimwear Day. Live music from White Water Ramble. Bring your swimsuit and enjoy spring skiing, contests and prizes. 


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Conservation Colorado has worked with communities around the state for over 50 years in pursuit of our mission - to protect Colorado’s environment and quality of life by mobilizing people and electing conservation-minded policymakers. We fight to protect the air, land, water, and people of Colorado. Our collaborative approach and focus on electing pro-conservation officials has yielded successes in addressing climate change, supporting clean energy development, conserving water resources, and protecting our public wildlands and rivers. These priority issues, and the incredible natural resources of our state, inspire our motto - The Future is Worth the Fight.

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