Colorado celebrates first ever public lands day

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MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT) It is time to get out and celebrate this weekend. As May 20th is the first ever Colorado Public Lands day.

Now our state is the first one to establish an entire day for public lands.

Governor Hickenlooper signed the bill into law a year ago. He is going to be in Grand Junction to celebrate.

There is a lot of public land day in Mesa County.

"72 percent of mesa county is public lands, either blm or forest service," said county commissioner John Justman.

Now areas like West Lake area in Grand Junction are being celebrated. With Colorado being the first state to have a public lands day.

"We hope that across the nation they will follow Colorado's lead and celebrate public lands in an official way like this," said Mike Porras who is a public information officer for the Northwest Region of Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

He says public lands are worth celebrating.

"It's a resource that we have to protect. This is what makes Colorado, Colorado. If it goes away, or if it's damaged certainly we lose something special," he said.

They're special, because there's so much to do.

"You can ride your mountain bike directly to the trailhead within 10 minutes, you can be trail running within 10 minutes, and you can be in the wilderness within about 15 minutes," said Katie Stevens who is the Field Manager for the Grand Junction BLM office.

Not only do they add to quality of life, public lands are also driving the economy here.

"We estimate that there's somewhere around 7,500 jobs directly dependent on the public lands in this area between now and 2029," Stevens said.

With anything out in the wild, it's important that you leave no trace.

"They belong to everyone not just the individual that is using it at that time," said Porras.

"Leave the public lands the same or better than when you found them," Stevens added.

Public lands day will happen in Colorado on the third Saturday of May each year.

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