Celebrating Public Lands in Eagle County

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BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS COUNTY OF EAGLE, STATE OF COLORADO

RESOLUTION NO. 2015 - 070
RESOLUTION REGARDING THE VALUE OF PUBLIC LANDS TO EAGLE COUNTY'S ECONOMY, RECREATION, HERITAGE AND QUALITY OF LIFE AND SUPPORTING CONTINUED FEDERAL OWNERSHIP OF FEDERAL PUBLIC LANDS

WHEREAS, Eagle County includes a unique array of scenic, wild and natural landscapes, including mountains, rivers, forests and lakes; and

WHEREAS, public lands under the management of federal agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, currently comprise seventy-eight (78) percent of land in Eagle County; and

WHEREAS, these federally administered public lands are essential to the quality of life in Eagle County, providing extensive public recreational opportunities for wildlife watching, hiking, hunting, fishing, backpacking, sport shooting, horseback riding, skiing, bicycling, sightseeing and numerous other outdoor recreational activities; and

WHEREAS, these same federally administered public lands provide essential habitat for fish and wildlife; and

WHEREAS, wildlife and exceptionally scenic landscapes of Eagle County's federal public lands attract outdoor recreation and tourism, which are important to Eagle County's economy; and

WHEREAS, unified, experienced and consistent management of federally administered public lands by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management across the nation best protects the national value and utility of the public lands for all Americans; and

WHEREAS, Eagle County's attraction to businesses, employers, quality employees, and the tourists who are a significant component of our economy is dependent on the high quality of life arising from expansive wild landscape; and outdoor recreational opportunities available on federally managed public lands in and near Eagle County; and

WHEREAS, we believe that management of our federal public lands and wildlife via long-established collaborative approaches in which federal public land management agencies cooperate with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Eagle County officials and the community are more
 
likely to produce effective management than would ownership or management of federal public lands by the state of Colorado; and

WHEREAS, Eagle County residents actively collaborate among diverse interests and with public land managers to improve equitable public land management and public access; and

WHEREAS, federal public land management agencies directly and indirectly employ many full-time residents of Eagle County, contributing significantly to the fiscal and social health of the county; and

WHEREAS, these federal lands are held in trust for the benefit of all Americans and people throughout the country value federal public lands as a distinctly prideful part of our national heritage, no matter in which state we live; and

WHEREAS, we recognize the dedicated federal employees who work in collaboration with the public and local and state land managers to protect these federal lands and provide for a variety of uses and experiences on these lands; and

WHEREAS, Eagle County created an Open Space Program and has invested significant funds from that program in the conservation of lands for the benefit of Eagle County's residents and visitors; and

WHEREAS, Eagle County works collaboratively with federal public land managers in the maintenance and operation of many of its open space parcels; and

WHEREAS, federal money, manpower, aircraft and other specialized fire prevention and firefighting assets essential to protecting our communities, infrastructure and public lands are unavailable at the state and county levels and due to recent drought and insect infestations, forests in Eagle County could be prone to wildfire; and

WHEREAS, we recognize that there may be certain circumstances in which a limited transfer of federal public lands may be appropriate and beneficial to local communities.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Commissioners of Eagle County, Colorado:

THAT, Eagle County Board of County Commissioners supports continued federal land ownership and management in Eagle County, and the irreplaceable value these public lands bring to our county's economy, recreation, heritage and quality of life.

THAT, Eagle County Board of County Commissioners commends the dedicated federal employees who manage America's public lands in Eagle County, as well as dedicated employees of the State of Colorado who manage fish, wildlife and forests in Eagle County, in partnership with local and federal public land managers.
 
THAT, Eagle County Board of County Commissioners generally oppose efforts to take over, litigate for or sell federal public lands within Eagle County except when such disposition .is pursuant to legislative and regulatory  processes established by Congress in the Recreation and Public Purposes Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, Federal Land Policy and Management Act and other applicable law, and for purposes supported by the Eagle County Board of County Commissioners and its constituents, including its Open Space Program, following public participation, site analysis and consideration of community implications of a transfer.
THAT, the board finds, determines and declares that this Resolution is necessary for the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the County of Eagle, State of Colorado.

MOVED, READ AND ADOPTED by the Board of County Commissioners of the County of Eagle, State of Colorado, this 11 day of August, 2015.

COLORADO, By and Through Its
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS