Grand opposes pro-wolf, anti-hunting appointee for Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission
Grand County commissioners are expressing their concern over a member of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission whose stance commissioners find at odds with the goals of the office.
Last week, commissioners discussed CPW commission appointee James Tutchton. Gov. Jared Polis appointed Tutchton to the commission last year, but his confirmation must go through the Colorado Senate.
“This particular individual is adamantly opposed to the entire mission of CPW as a whole, and I think that is wrong,” Commissioner Merrit Linke said. “I don’t think there would be objective votes or objective reasoning presented from that individual.”
Tutchton represents outdoor recreation, parks utilization and nonconsumptive wildlife as one of the 11 voting members on the CPW commission. He is currently the preserve manager for the Southern Plains Land Trust in Bent County, but has a background as a litigator for WildEarth Guardians.
Nonprofit WildEarth Guardians is best known for its extensive legal dispute with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. According to an opposition letter from county commissioners, Tutchton “unabashedly weaponized” the Endangered Species Act to add more animals to the endangered species list and keep animals there in perpetuity.
Tutchson’s views when it comes to wildlife have historically fallen on the side of conservation, with some considering his opinions anti-hunting. He did not respond to an emailed request for comment.
The appointee has also pushed for wolf reintroduction, something that the CPW commission will be stewarding for the next few years thanks to Proposition 114. That ballot measure narrowly passed in November, directing CPW to develop a plan and begin reintroducing wolves in Colorado by 2023.
According to the letter, Tutchton has called to accelerate the timeline set out by the ballot measure. The letter describes this attempt to shorten the timeline as “ultimately denying the voice of those affected by reintroduction.”
“Get somebody that is more objective in their reasoning and their line of thinking, instead of somebody that is already in direct opposition to the goals and mission of the CPW,” Linke said.
Commissioner Rich Cimino added, with Linke and Commissioner Kris Manguso agreeing, that the he has no issues with the other two CPW appointees still requiring senate approval.
The commissioners unanimously agreed to oppose the appointment with a letter to the president of the Colorado Senate and chair of the agriculture and natural resources committee.
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