Leading public lands subcommittee, US House Rep. Neguse sets efforts on wildfire mitigation, conservation corps. | SkyHiNews.com

Leading public lands subcommittee, US House Rep. Neguse sets efforts on wildfire mitigation, conservation corps.

Sky-Hi News staff report
Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. Joe Neguse meet at the Coon Hill trailhead on the west side of the Eisenhower Tunnel in Dillon on Sept. 4, 2020, to discuss the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act.
Photo by Liz Copan / Studio Copan

The first African-American to head the US House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forest and Public Lands, Rep. Joe Neguse of Colorado is crafting an agenda aimed at the nation’s parks, forests and public lands. Also at the forefront, Neguse says, he wants to tackle western wildfires.

With the unveiling of a new plan for “Restoring Our Lands and Communities,” the 36-year-old congressman is set to chair his first subcommittee hearing next week.

At its core, Neguse says the plan would invest in the outdoor recreation economy and prioritize science-based wildfire mitigation, while also strengthening natural resources workforce through a reimagined 21st Century Conservation Corps.

According to Neguse’s office, a discussion about the 21st Century Conservation Corps, or what the congressman calls “a historic investment in the natural resources workforce,” is one of the pieces he’s putting together as the chair.

“I’m eager to get to work as Chair … delivering results for the people of Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West as we work to restore our lands and our communities and build a brighter future,” Neguse said in a statement.

Colorado’s 2nd District includes Grand County, which sits as the western entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, along with Front Range communities like Boulder and Fort Collins and mountain towns Estes Park and Vail.

Detailing his plans, Neguse continued by referencing all the localized work that went into the CORE Act, as he promised to continue on that track with the subcommittee.

According to Neguse’s office, he will also soon launch a public lands listening tour across Colorado, hoping to hear about people’s priorities for conservation, wildfire mitigation and investments in the outdoor recreation industry.

Neguse’s plan for public lands

According to US Rep. Joe Neguse’s office, the Restoring Our Lands and Communities plan includes:

• Supporting legislation, such as the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act, to protect and boost Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy.

• Preparing and responding to wildfires after the 2020 wildfire season, which packed the three largest fires ever in Colorado all into a single year.

• Making historic investments in the natural resource workforce through a reimagined conservation or climate corps that can put people to work, improve stewardship of public lands and build future generations of natural resource managers.

• Continuing to support the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

• Addressing deferred maintenance, including at Rocky Mountain National Park, where there’s a maintenance backlog of $84 million.

• Addressing climate change through public lands.

• Promoting environmental justice so that all people have a right to clean air, water and a healthy environment.

• Amplifying Native voices by ensuring that Native Americans and tribal governments are consulted in public lands legislation.

Source: Rep. Joe Neguse’s office

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