Believe me when I say that, in the wake of last November’s morale-crushing election, I understand completely the desire to throw your hands up and be done politically. It’s a temptation I have felt more times than I can count.
That’s why I wasn’t surprised recently when I read an article about hunting and fishing groups leaving Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Colorado Outdoor Partnership (COP), saying that COP has departed from its original mission of balancing the competing interests of outdoor recreation enthusiasts, hunters, anglers, and conservation.
Those that resigned allege that the COP has begun to weigh the concerns of recreation and conservation interests ahead of those of wildlife and habitat, as well as spend more and more time on diversity, equity and inclusion than is appropriate for a group about the outdoors.
I don’t know enough about the situation to weigh in on the allegations. Knowing what I do about how our state is tilting these days, I find the accusations credible and wouldn’t be surprised to find they’re true.
I get the urge to disengage from things in this state, but the fact is we need more, and not fewer, conservative voices on boards like these. To the extent that these folks resigning from the board draws attention to the problems (and that may have been the point), I support their actions, but I sincerely hope these folks re-engage with the board. I hope they sign back up and re-join the discussion.
Getting frustrated and clucking your tongue about the direction this state is headed in is a good start, but I believe it’s better to stand up and do something about the problem. Toward that end, I have an actual, tangible recommendation for you.
Should these groups choose not to re-engage, and I make no judgment on their choice, you, an angler or hunter passionate about the topic, should inquire about joining COP. Their website is here and the contact email is email@example.com.
If hunting or fishing is not your thing, I highly encourage you to get involved in one of your own local boards or advisory councils. The Independence Institute’s Local Government Project is a good place to start.
The temptation to fold up and go home is natural. The temptation to slap your own forehead in exasperation when a board nominally about nature starts discussing microaggressions is natural. Things like these are indeed enough to make you shake your head and walk off.
I think the way that we start to bring back some sanity in this state is by having civil, public discussions about the wisdom of such priorities, however. We need boards in this state to have conservatives on them who will ask the commonsense everyday questions that these boards unfortunately do not ask enough of. We need you.
Cory Gaines lives in Sterling on Colorado’s Eastern Plains.
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