Colorado's Outdoor Recreation Communtiy Unites

Over 100 outdoor and youth related organizations in Colorado push for answers from gubernatorial candidates
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An historic coalition of over 100 outdoor and youth oriented groups in Colorado united to request how the candidates for governor will address key issues facing the recreation community, according to Choose Outdoors President and CEO Bruce Ward. Candidates for Governor are John Hickenlooper, Dan Maes and Tom Tancredo

The letter is provided below.

Dear candidate:
Colorado's magnificent natural landscapes offer abundant and diverse outdoor recreation opportunities which attract millions of Coloradans and visitors, annually. Our state's outdoors heritage is integral to our quality of life, the stewardship of our resources, and a major influence on the health and well-being of Coloradans. However, for the first time in history, children are growing up primarily indoors, spending half as much time outside as children did 20 years ago. In this timeframe, childhood obesity rates have more than doubled impacting the well-being of Americans and burdening our healthcare system.
The Colorado Outdoor Recreation Resource Project (CORRP), in partnership with the Colorado Kids Outdoor (CKO) Coalition, and their respective members request you share how as Governor, you would address critical outdoor recreation issues. Please consider:
•Attending the next CORRP meeting on Oct. 8, 2010 to present your vision to our stakeholders in person. (It will be held at 7:30 a.m. at the R.E.I., Inc. Flagship Store).
•Responding in writing to the questions outlined in the following section. Your reply will be circulated throughout our networks.
•Meeting with key members of CORRP and CKO to discuss your leadership strategy to protect and enhance Colorado's outdoors.
As you know, outdoor recreation and related tourism contribute substantially to local and state economies. Colorado's Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP), which is developed every five years, conservatively estimated in 2008 that outdoor recreation generates $10- $15 billion in annual economic activity statewide.
There are many pressing issues affecting Colorado's outdoor assets which the new Governor will need to address. Colorado's 2008-2013 SCORP provides an outline of some of these issues, as well as targeted actions to address these challenges. The nationally-acclaimed SCORP report is available at: www.ColoradoSCORP.org.
Your response to the questions below will help educate our networks and their constituents regarding your commitment to Colorado's recreation resources and reconnecting youth to nature. The following questions reflect some of most pressing issues identified in the SCORP.
1)Outdoor experiences are an important part of healthy, active lifestyles. How would you support and promote outdoor activities as a means of improving public health among Coloradans, particularly youth?

2)Environmental changes are occurring across the state. From bark beetle infestations to climate change, many factors are impacting access to and the availability of outdoor experiences and tourism opportunities. What measures do you plan to undertake to address these concerns?

3)As kids grow up, they spend less time outside. Only 25% of young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 engage in outdoor activities at least twice weekly, a 30% decrease from youth 6-17 years old. This decline is even more dramatic among girls than boys, and African Americans and Hispanics than Caucasians, according to the Outdoor Industry Foundation. Outdoor experiences are critical in fostering a conservation ethic. How will you lead the movement to connect youth, including underserved groups like urban and minority youth, to outdoor experiences to ensure future generations safeguard Colorado's natural resources and public lands?

4)Colorado's abundant outdoor recreation opportunities and high quality of life are interconnected, and our public lands are an asset that help support a thriving tourism industry (our second largest contributor to Colorado's economy). Today, significant funding shortfalls are reducing our ability to provide and maintain a wide variety of public services, including quality parks, open space, and recreation opportunities at the local and state levels. Strategic partnerships and additional revenue sources are needed to maintain and expand these opportunities for Colorado's growing population. What would you do as governor to address this issue?
Members of CORRP and CKO are interested in working collaboratively with you to ensure outdoor resources and conservation of Colorado's outdoors heritage remains a high priority. Our state's livability today and our prosperity tomorrow depend on it. At stake now, and for future generations, is the health of our people, our economy, our communities, and the lands and waters on which we depend.
Colorado's outdoors heritage has assumed a pivotal role in national and statewide dialogues on public health issues including obesity and developmental disabilities, economic development, tourism, and climate change. Clearly, these issues extend beyond Colorado's recreation community.
Please complete the questions and RSVP regarding your participation at the October 8, 2010 CORRP meeting no later than 5pm on October 6, 2010. Thank you in advance for your response. For more information about this invitation, please contact Bruce Ward at your convenience.
Sincerely,

Bruce Ward
CORRP Co-Chair
President and Founder, Choose Outdoors
bruceward1@gmail.com
(303) 917-1476
Ian Steyn
CKO Interim Co-Chair
Founder and Owner, The Outdoor Experience
isteyn@aol.com
303-562-7080


CORRP is a statewide coalition of over 170 individuals representing federal, state, and local governments, as well as private and non-profit entities focused on delivering quality outdoor recreation experiences and achieving statewide goals collaboratively.
Colorado Kids Outdoors (CKO) is a new statewide coalition comprised of over 50 organizations including non-profits, businesses, government agencies and educators dedicated to connecting kids to Colorado's outdoors: from neighborhoods to mountain tops.

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