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How a Lawmaker Who Created Colorado's First 'Public Lands Day' Is Celebrating

In another state.

(David Kidd)
As Colorado prepares for its first "Public Lands Day" on Saturday, one of the sponsors of the bill that created the celebration chose an unusual place to mark the occasion: Utah.

Colorado Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman went rafting on the San Juan River earlier this week. The river flows near the southern edge of Bears Ears National Monument, which President Barack Obama created in the final months of his administration.

The 1.3 million-acre protected area is at the center of a national debate over restrictions on federal land, as the Trump administration reviews all national monuments created since 1996 that are larger than 100,000 acres. As for Bears Ears, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke already visited the area earlier this month.

Restrictions on how federal land can be used have also been a contentious issue in Colorado. But Guzman says she chose Bears Ears as a reminder that protections of federal land can benefit people from around the country.

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Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.
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