Outside Scoop: National Public Lands
There was big natural celebration across the valley at the end of September, it was National Public Lands Day.
National Public Lands are places that belong to everyone and are managed by different parts of the federal, state or local government, or a sovereign tribal nation. These places have been specifically set aside for the enjoyment of people and to help preserve landscape, flora, fauna, animal, fish, and so much more. Across the United States, there are more than 600 million acres of land that have forest, park, preserve and/or historic sites that are dedicated to the use of the public.
Here in Colorado, we have 8.3 million acres of public lands that are extremely diverse. Colorado’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) notes, “From rafting Class IV rapids through Browns Canyon National Monument to watching one of Colorado’s four majestic wild horse herds or even looking at fossils at McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area, public lands in Colorado have something for everyone.”
The Colorado BLM also manages 27 million acres of federal mineral estate in Colorado. Colorado BLM also notes, “Ranging from alpine tundra, colorful canyons and sagebrush steppe to mountains rising more than 14,000 feet above sea level, most of our public lands are concentrated on Colorado’s Western Slope.” Some of these impressive landscapes include three national conservation areas, 53 wilderness study areas, five wilderness areas and two national monuments.
In 2002, Eagle County voters approved a property tax to fund the acquisition, maintenance, and preservation of open space in Eagle County. According to the County government, the Eagle County Open Space Program has acquired or helped to conserve over 13,000 acres of land, directly contributing to the quality of life of residents such as yourself.
What landscapes might be found in National Public Lands?
Ancestral homelands, ceremonial spaces, hunting and harvesting areas, migration routes and more can all be found in National Public Lands.
What is a conservation easement?
A conservation easement is a “voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values,” according to landtrusalliance.org.
What types of government departments work with National Public Lands?
Four executive departments of the federal government work with National Public Lands, including the Department of the Agriculture, the Department of Interior, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Defense.