Letter: Pass the Great American Outdoors Act

YMCA of the Rockies puts Christian principles into practice through programs, staff, and facilities in an environment that builds healthy spirit, mind, and body for all. As CEO of the organization, I know that people, especially families and children, can develop healthy spirits, minds and bodies through time spent in our beautiful outdoor spaces.

We’re lucky to have Rocky Mountain National Park in our backyard, and we must ensure this special place and other public lands throughout the state are maintained so future generations can benefit from their values, too. That’s why I was thrilled to see the Great American Outdoors Act introduced and passed by the Senate. This bipartisan bill focuses on addressing the $12 billion crumbling infrastructure in our national parks and other land agencies.

In Colorado, as you likely know, we need more than $238 million in repairs to outdated facilities, roads and parking lots, trail upkeep, and historic preservation in our national parks alone. In addition, the bill would fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund for the first time, a crucial program that provides access to state-owned outdoor recreational spaces. We are so grateful that both Colorado Sens. Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet voted for the passage of the bill. Now we encourage our House of Representatives delegation to work with leadership to pass this legislation and move to the President’s desk for signature as soon as they return from the July 4th recess. Colorado’s great outdoors deserve nothing less and so do the citizens of this great state, and our visitors from all over the country, as we move to protect our important public lands.

— Julie Watkins, president of YMCA of the Rockies

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