Conservation Wins with Western Voters

In the Mountain West, land conservation is a winning campaign issue.

Time and time again, polling shows that Western voters across all parties and ideologies value their public lands and the benefits they provide, like hunting and fishing opportunities, hiking, camping, clean water, and fresh air.

The Mountain West is home to an increasing number of hotly contested elections. Western candidates and Washington D.C. policymakers cannot afford to ignore Western conservation values.

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69 percent of Western voters
are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports enhancing protections for public lands.

74 percent of Western voters
oppose proposals made by some in the U.S. Congress to sell off public lands to reduce the budget deficit.

95 percent of Western voters
visit public lands at least once a year.

90 percent of Latino voters in Colorado and New Mexico
use public lands for recreation, like hiking, fishing, hunting or camping at least once per year.

59 percent of Western Republican voters
are more likely to back a candidate who supports enhancing protections for public lands.

67 percent of Western Independent voters
are more likely to back a candidate who supports enhancing protections for public lands.


Barbara Vasquez

Walden, Colorado

"Conservation is a winning election-year issue. I've travelled the world, but there's no place like home. My home is in the West because I had promised myself I would find a place that had more four-footed than two-footed critters. Public lands protections matter to Western states voters and matter most to me."

Miles McCarvel

Missoula, Montana

"I'm Miles McCarvel, a 5th generation Montanan, a union ironworker, a single dad, and an outdoorsman. I try to nurture an appreciation of the natural beauty of the outdoors in my two daughters, and I hope they'll pass a love for our public lands to their own children and grandchildren. We also need strong leadership on behalf of Montanans and our public lands in Washington DC, which is why I will continue to vote for candidates committed to preserving public lands."

Katja Elias

Helena, Montana

"I'm Katja Elias –a third-generation Montanan, mom of three and editor in Helena. Our family accesses public lands every weekend to hike, bike, boat, ski or ride. I am dedicated to my community and a life where we all can benefit from the great outdoors. I vote for candidates who are committed to preserving federal public lands in Montana because I want to leave the beautiful places I've known accessible to my children and future generations."

Anna Peterson

Durango, Colorado

"Protecting public lands is so vital to the outdoor industry because our companies depend on protected outdoor spaces to support our businesses. The Rocky Mountains are my home; they are my backyard and my playground. I care to know that the candidates I’m casting my ballot for will go to Washington and fight for the lands I care about,, the trails I hike on after work, and the mountains I camp in during the weekends."

​Max Trujillo​

Las Vegas, New Mexico

"I learned at an early age that our public land is where each and every American regardless of race, gender, political affiliation, or ideology, has an equal ownership in the places where we hunt, fish, camp, and hike. We also have an equal responsibility to pass these lands to future generations in the same or better condition. I will always back a candidate who fights to protect public lands & in turn protects our quality of life and that of my children and grandchildren.​"

Erika Peterman

Missoula, Montana

"My name is Erika Peterman. I am an attorney, photographer, and mother living in Missoula, Montana. I vote for candidates who are committed to preserving federal public lands in Montana for future generations because I want to maintain the quality of life Montana has to offer. Being able to paddle down clean rivers, view wildlife while backpacking and breathing clean air while running on Montana's trails gives my family the quality of life that very few places have to offer."


A product of Center for Western Priorities