Colorado launches new outdoor recreation industry office

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Luis Benitez will head Colorado’s new Outdoor Recreation Industry Office.

‘I want to hear what people in small communities are doing and carry those stories to the highest level …’

FRISCO — Colorado’s outdoor recreation industry — from skiing and snowmobiling, to birdwatching and hunting — has become a powerful economic force in the last few decades.

By some accounts, the industry generates as much as $13 billion per year in consumer spending and drives the economy of many communities outside the urban Front Range corridor. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, the industry contributes $4.2 billion in wages and salaries in Colorado.

Now, Gov. John Hickenlooper says he wants to boost the industry’s role to an even higher profile by establishing a new Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, housed in the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Last week, Hickenlooper announced that Eagle County resident Luis Guillermo Benitez will head the new office’s efforts build the state’s outdoor recreation brand. Continue reading

Letter shows widespread business support for public land protection under the Antiquities Act

Groups urge Obama to designate more monuments

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Colorado National Monument was one of the earliest tracts of public land to be designated under the Antiquities Act. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Public lands are vital to the growing economies of the American West, a coalition of business groups said in a recent letter to President Barack Obama, urging him to protect special areas through his authority under the Antiquities Act.

The letter was sent on the 109th anniversary of the Act, a law that enables presidents to designate national monuments and other landmarks for protection. That authority has come under on-and-off attack by the GOP in Congress, as some lawmakers have sought to roll back presidential powers. Continue reading

Anglers invited to join citizen science effort

TroutBlitz helps conservation and restoration efforts

Fishing for cutthroat trout at Clinton Gulch Reservoir, Summit County, Colorado.

Fishing for cutthroat trout at Clinton Gulch Reservoir, Summit County, Colorado.

Staff Report

FRISCO — It’s not always easy to gather good scientific data, especially in an era when political ideology drives policy, resulting in budget cuts that hamper government agencies.

That’s where citizen science can help, and Trout Unlimited wants anglers around the country to help record evidence of their trout catches both photographically and via mapping coordinates with the relaunch of TroutBlitz.

TU’s science team uses the data collected from anglers to learn more about native trout water, non-native trout proliferation and the health of entire watersheds. Continue reading

Colorado fisheries experts working to rebuild kokanee salmon fishery in Blue Mesa Reservoir

Kokanee salmon caught at Green Mountain Reservoir, Summit County, Colorado. bberwyn photo.

Kokanee salmon caught at Green Mountain Reservoir, Summit County, Colorado. @bberwyn photo.

Big restocking effort could boost populations over the next few years

Staff Report

FRISCO — Predation by trout and fluctuating water levels in Blue Mesa Reservoir continue to take a toll on the Colorado’s kokanee salmon, state biologists said this week, explaining how they’re working to rebuild the fishery.

Earlier this month, Colorado Parks and Wildlife released about
3 million fingerling kokanee from the Roaring Judy Hatchery into Blue Mesa Reservoir, near Gunnison. The fish that reach maturity will return to spawn in two to five years. Continue reading

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper joins call for Browns Canyon monument designation

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Map of proposed Browns Canyon National Monument.

Letter to President Obama cites strong local support

Staff Report

FRISCO — Just a few weeks after Colorado residents resoundingly sounded off in favor of protection the Arkansas River’s Browns Canyon at a public meeting in Salida, Senator Michael Bennet and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper asked President Barack Obama to designate the canyon as a national monument. Continue reading

Fishing: More tiger muskies in Colorado?

State biologists try to balance recreation with restoration of native fish

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More tiger muskies, more native fish? Photo courtesy Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife/ Tim Knepp.

Staff Report

FRISCO —Colorado fishery experts say planting more tiger muskie in western Colorado reservoirs could help provide the sport fishing that anglers want, while helping to meet goals of the Colorado River native fish recovery program. Colorado Parks and Wildlife will release more the tiger muskies in Harvey Gap Reservoir this week, adding to the 140 that were stocked last year.

“We are continuing the evaluation phase of this project,” said aquatic biologist Lori Martin. “This introduction of the non-native species last year was well received. There is still potential for tiger muskie to become a viable alternative to northern pike,” Martin said. Continue reading

It’s free fishing weekend in Colorado

Fishing for brookies at Officers Gulch Pond, in Summit County, Colorado.

Fishing for brookies at Officers Gulch Pond, in Summit County, Colorado. Bob Berwyn photo.

No license needed June 1-2

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — There’s no better way to start the summer than by wetting a line in one of Colorado’s sparkling streams or lakes, and to celebrate the start of the angling season, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is once again offering free fishing this weekend (June 1-2).

Each year, the agency designates the first weekend in June as the only two-day period that anglers all around the state are not required to have a fishing license. For the rest of the year a fishing license is required for anyone 16 years and older. Check all the Colorado Parks and Wildlife fishing online here and check out this guide for popular Summit County fishing spots here. Continue reading

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