The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act (H.R. 803), which aims to preserve some 3 million acres across Colorado, California, Washington and Arizona. The legislation is a collection of nine separate public lands bills the House approved last year — including Rep Diana DeGette’s Colorado Wilderness Act (CWA) and Rep. Joe Neguse’s Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act.

“I’m stoked to announce that the Protecting America’s Wilderness Act and Public Lands Act (H.R. 803) passed the House … and is moving full steam ahead to the Senate,” said Backcountry Hunters & Anglers President and CEO Land Tawney. “This legislative package contains nine different bills that benefit the wild places we all value. Put together, these bills will establish 1.49 million acres of new wilderness, designate over 1,000 river miles as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System and make sure that an additional 1.3 million acres remain intact for recreational use. This would not have happened without boots on the ground leadership and represents a huge potential win for backcountry outdoorsmen and women like you and me.”

Justin Cross, northern Colorado regional director for Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, said it would boost the state’s outdoor recreation economy, which generated $62 billion and a half-million jobs in 2017. A 2018 poll found that 96% of Coloradans see the outdoor recreation industry as important to the state’s economic future. Conservation Colorado recently released their 2021 Conservation in the West survey and found that 81% of Coloradans support a national goal of protecting 30 percent of America’s lands and oceans by 2030.

H.R. 803 will serve to protect and perpetuate our robust outdoor recreation economy and great public lands hunting-angling heritage.

David Lien

Co-chairman, Colorado ­Backcountry Hunters & Anglers