DEN: Building Footbridges

Written by mappyhour

Conservation, as a big picture idea, is something we can all get behind. But how do the dynamics of protecting land play out in Colorado? How is conservation different to someone managing a family ranch versus someone dedicated to creating recreation opportunities to the public? And of course, how can leaders in the state make sure these different understandings of conservation are not at odds to the overall mission of a future Colorado with healthy land.

This July, Mappy Hour Denver Chapter Leader Jeremy Goldsmith led a panel which, provided a space to dive deeper into often fragmented conversations about conservation. While the core of the talk (and the speakers) centered around Colorado, the event included attendees of Outdoor Retailer with the hope that lessons learned locally could be made applicable to all.

Steve Carpenter — General Manager / Denver Mountain Khakis Flagship Store    Steve and his team at Mountain Khakis opened the store for tonight’s conservation, creating the perfect space for an intimate conservation about public and private lands.   Here, Steve sets the stage for the night: the goal is to grab a beer and chat, without judging, to the person sitting next to you.

Terry Fankhauser— Colorado Cattlemen’s Association 

Terry represented the private land interests of the night, namely those used for agriculture. These private lands are put to work, driving economic growth locally and tying individual landowners to the health of their land.  Terry notes that these landowners are not only interested in protecting and caring for their land but they have the resources too – making them key players to the conservation conversation in Colorado.

Erik Glenn — Executive Director of Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust 

Erik is, professionally speaking, in the middle of this conversation as the executive director of a conservation organization established by the cattlemen’s association.

His organization, CCALT, knows that Colorado’s cattlemen have strong conservation ethic and wants to help drive collaborations and conversations between them and traditional environmentalists. Part of the challenge, he admits, is just perspective – that “one side” might not like the other.

Ultimately though, everyone is working for the same outcomes.

Dan ZimmererStatewide Partnership Coordinator of Colorado Parks & Wildlife

Dan followed up with the core of the conversation – this is ultimately about conservation. And Colorado doesn’t need to do it in the same way as everyone else. In fact, over the past few years, Colorado has taken the SHIFT Principles and adapted them for the state to include provisions for private land owners.

Luis Benitez, Director of Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office  

Luis and his office at OREC are making moves to create a collective political vision for the outdoor industry in Colorado. This industry is powerful and bringing everyone together is key to long term success. Part of that journey included The Confluence Accords, signed a few days after this talk with 8 states across the nation and the goal to create a constitution of sorts for the outdoor industry.              

Thank you to all who joined, our panelists for sharing, Avery for the brews and Mountain Khakis for hosting. Header photo by Heather Hebson