COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado has been on a rapid growth track for several years now. It is bringing a lot more users onto public lands. The heavy use along with some misuse is becoming a concerning issue. "I feel there's a sense of urgency to get after this now," said Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance (PPORA), Executive Director, Becky Leinweber. Partners in the alliance are launching a new campaign called Respect the Outdoors.
PPORA is a non-profit bringing together people running outdoor businesses, non-profits focused on public land, and land managers. Through the alliance, they come together on common issues related to preserving Colorado’s valuable outdoor assets.
In recent years as Colorado’s population has been expanding rapidly, partners in PPORA have noticed increasing misuse of public lands "Our partners were saying we have got to figure out how to get ahold of this,” said Leinweber. Litter, animal waste, crowding, and trail damage are just a few of the issues. Clashes between different types of land users are also increasing. Hikers for example may not like sharing trails with mountain bikers.
There are other states and other parts of Colorado with examples of consequences when public land issues go unchecked. Changes like reservation only, fees, added rules, even closed areas."We really wanted to get ahead of that as much as we could in the Pikes Peak Region, by helping our users recognize it's ours to lose,’ said Leinweber, “This access is important to all of us."
The new Respect the Outdoors campaign is intended as a proactive education and prevention initiative. It is starting with a series of messages based on Leave No Trace principles. The PPORA website offers a Campaign Toolkit for anyone wanting to spread the Respect the Outdoors message.