Colorado has 22.9 million acres of national forests, parks and other lands. According to a bipartisan poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, 80% of Coloradans are opposed to the seizure and selling off of public lands, and 66% do not want to bear the fiscal burden of managing the lands.
“Shifting the burden for maintaining and protecting those lands to the state would be expensive and irresponsible. Transferring ownership of this land would threaten sportsmen’s access, fire protection, and would shift millions of dollars of cost to state taxpayers.” -John Hickenlooper, CO Governor
Despite public opinion, efforts have been made to transfer federal lands over to the state:
- SB 14-091 requiring the federal government to transfer title to all agricultural lands to the state was introduced in 2014, did not get out of committee.
- SB 15-039: Introduced in 2015 to establish concurrent authority over federal lands
- So that the state retains jurisdiction over civil and criminal processes with respect to such lands;
- To tax persons and corporations and their property and transactions on such lands so acquired; and
- To exercise such additional powers and legislative authority as will further protect the life, health, and safety
- Senate Bill 15-039: Concurrent Jurisdiction Over Federal Land
- House Bill 1225: Concerning the Provision of State Assistance to Local Governments for the Purpose of Improved Coordination in Federal Land Management Decision-Making
- Senate Bill 232: Concerning the creation of the Colorado federal land management commission to study the transfer of public lands in Colorado from the federal government to the State
“[…] it is time that the Western attorneys general join together and fought back against the federal government, and we took back that land” – Cynthia Coffman, CO Attorney General.
Colorado’s Enabling Act states “that the people inhabiting said Territory do agree and declare that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within said Territory…”