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Colorado group wants to protect public lands from overcrowding impacts

Surging visitation to Colorado’s public lands, fueled by booming population growth along the Front Range, is alarming to the very same people who adore Colorado’s outdoors and worry about the impact of high visitation on sensitive public lands and ecosystems. Northern Colorado Places, or NoCo, for short, was formed in 2019 as a collection of northern Colorado public […]

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Emails raise questions about Dolores monument poll objectivity

Documents obtained by the Center for Western Priorities revealed that a poll commissioned by Mesa County, Colorado to gauge support for the Dolores River Canyons National Monument proposal was first drafted by opponents of the monument. Dennis Webb, a reporter for the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, reviewed the documents obtained by CWP through a Colorado Open Records Act request. […]

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Transcript: Hitting the trail with Disabled Hikers founder Syren Nagakyrie

This is an automatically generated transcript. Please excuse spelling and grammatical errors. Aaron Weiss: Welcome to the landscape. This is your show about America’s parks and public lands. I’m Aaron Weiss with the center for Western priorities in Denver. Kate Groetzinger: And I’m Kate Groetzinger in Salt Lake City. Today on the podcast, we’re talking […]

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Hitting the trail with Disabled Hikers founder Syren Nagakyrie

Kate and Aaron talk to Syren Nagakyrie, founder and director of Disabled Hikers, a nonprofit group seeking to make the outdoors more accessible for people with disabilities. Nagakyrie has been outspoken about the tokenization of disabled hikers by U.S. Senator Mike Lee, who recently filed a bill called the Outdoor Americans with Disabilities Act that […]

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BLM will thoughtfully use some Nevada public land for affordable housing

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced that it is moving ahead with a plan to sell 20 acres of Nevada public lands near the city of Las Vegas to the Clark County Department of Social Services for affordable housing. The proposal is the first under an agreement between the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Interior departments that […]

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Project 2025 would devastate America’s public lands

The extreme agenda seeks to hand public lands over to corporations, end vital land protections, and harm wildlife Project 2025 is a radical action plan for a future Republican presidential administration that seeks to significantly roll back federal regulations and allow big corporations to maximize extraction of publicly-owned resources. Project 2025 was launched by the Koch-funded […]

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STATEMENT: Biden administration shows how to carefully use public lands for affordable housing

The Biden administration just called the bluff of land transfer proponents.

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Interior considers new drilling restrictions in Alaska

The Interior department is considering broadening oil and gas drilling restrictions in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A). The Bureau of Land Management will solicit public comments on whether to expand or designate new “special areas” in the 23-million acre reserve, a move that would extend the areas of the NPR-A that are mostly off limits to drillers. “We have a responsibility […]

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The West has an affordable housing crisis. Can public land help?

As calls to sell off Western public land for housing development increase, examples show it’s no silver bullet From Senator Mike Lee of Utah to Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo, Western politicians are calling on the federal government to sell off public lands to developers. They say there’s a housing shortage in the West, but the solutions they’re calling for […]

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Land swap ends 50-year fight to block mining near Crested Butte

The U.S Forest Service has approved a land swap deal that will permanently block hard-rock mining on thousands of acres above the town of Crested Butte, Colorado. Locals refer to the pink-hued Mount Emmons as the “Red Lady” and fought nearly fifty years against a proposed molybdenum mine in the peak’s watershed. Chad Stewart, the supervisor of the […]

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Public supports using Indigenous Knowledge to manage Bears Ears

Public comments submitted on the proposed management plan for Bears Ears National Monument overwhelmingly encourage the federal government to use Indigenous Knowledge as it manages the landscape. BLM received more than 20,000 comments on the management plan, according to the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition. Bears Ears marks the first time the federal government has included Tribal nations […]

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Climate change fuels wildfires at night

Climate change is fueling new wildfire behavior across the West. Instead of slowing down at night as temperatures drop, many wildfires are now growing rapidly overnight. Nighttime temperatures are rising faster than daytime temperatures thanks to human-caused climate change, which has broken down a natural cycle in wildfire behavior. Kaiwei Luo, a doctoral student at the University of Alberta, […]

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Wyoming blocks conservation groups from oil and gas auctions

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon signed an emergency order blocking conservation groups from participating in state oil and gas auctions. The order came at the request of oil and gas companies that were upset after the Wyoming Outdoor Council (WOC) tried to buy a lease on a parcel in the “path of the pronghorn” migration corridor last year. Under […]

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Renewable energy hits local headwinds

Proposals to create thousands of megawatts of wind and solar capacity across the West are running into local opposition. The recurring theme: We need renewable energy—but not like this. In Idaho, survivors and descendants of Japanese-Americans who were incarcerated at the Minidoka War Relocation Center during World War II organized a letter asking President Joe Biden to stop the proposed Lava Ridge […]

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Bennet, Hickenlooper: Dolores River needs more protection

After hearing from residents on Colorado’s West Slope, U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper issued a joint statement over Independence Day saying they support more federal protections around the Dolores River. The senators said increased protections would also need to come with guarantees that existing mining, hunting, grazing, and water rights are protected—a position that mirrors what advocates for a […]

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How an Instagram ‘joke’ turned into an outdoor LGBTQ community

Aaron and Kate talk to Dr. Hitesh Tolani, creator of the Gays of National Parks Instagram account, which is aimed at fostering community among LGBTQ people through a love of the outdoors. Hitesh began the account as a joke in 2022, but it has since grown into a community with over 15,000 followers. Hitesh talks […]

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Highlights and lowlights from Western state legislatures

Over the past five months, state legislatures in Western states have been engaged in a dizzying flurry of legislative activity, considering bills on land conservation, energy development, water conservation, and other related topics. In a new blog post, Center for Western Priorities Policy Director Rachael Hamby provides a highlight reel of state-level policy advances and setbacks from the […]

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2024 Western States Legislative Wrap-up

Over the past five months, state legislatures in Western states have been engaged in a dizzying flurry of legislative activity. Given the importance of public lands and natural resource issues in the West, legislators in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming all considered bills on land conservation, energy development, water conservation, and other […]

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Wildlife corridors attract bipartisan support

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced a bill that would support mapping and protection of wildlife migration routes. Earlier this week, Senator Alex Padilla of California and Representatives Ryan Zinke of Montana and Don Beyer of Virginia introduced the “Wildlife Movement through Partnerships Act.” Among other provisions, the bill would create a new Wildlife Movement and Migration Corridor program […]

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How oil companies block well clean-up reforms

An investigation by ProPublica and Capital & Main details how the oil and gas industry exercises its influence to block policy reforms. In New Mexico, more than 70,000 unplugged wells are leaking toxic chemicals across the state, and there is a multi-billion dollar shortfall between the cost to plug them and the money oil and gas companies have […]

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