Letter: McQuain, Why you should support Issue 1A: Open Lands, Rivers and Trails
October 19, 2016
Why you should support Issue 1A: Open Lands, Rivers and Trails
Living in Grand County is not always easy. Those who call Grand County "home" have made a conscious decision to do so. Why? Because of our open lands, our rivers, and our trails. Those who live in Grand County are in on the secret: we have an unrivaled quality of life. Grand County is a truly unique place to live and visit as it offers peaceful vistas, unlimited outdoor recreation, and historical agriculture. These characteristics are more precious than ever, as both our county and our state are growing. The State Demographer's Office projects that Grand County's population will "nearly double" in the next 35 years. We need to be proactive, ensuring that the acreage of protected land correlates with the flux of people coming to Grand County. There is a solution for Grand County residents. Issue 1A: Open Lands, Rivers and Trails will dedicate funds to the protection of our rivers, the maintenance of our trails, and the conservation of our agricultural lands. Currently, Grand County does not have a source of committed funding for these efforts, which places a burden on local non-profits and advocates. Issue 1A: Open Lands, Rivers and Trails will allow residents to take responsibility for the county's future. This measure proposes a 0.3 percent sales tax levy, the revenue of which will be dedicated to Grand County's natural assets. Funds will be used solely to: (1) enhance water resources in the upper Colorado watershed; (2) conserve agricultural lands, natural areas, scenic open lands, wildlife habitat and wetlands; and (3) to maintain hiking and biking trails. The use of these funds will have strong oversight by an independent citizen Open Lands Advisory Committee. This committee will be formed by a representative from each part of the county. No more that 5 percent of the funds will be used for the administration of the program. Issue 1A: Open Lands, Rivers and Trails is a highly accountable and temporary measure. Issue 1A: Open Lands, Rivers and Trails fairly spreads the responsibility of paying for the protection of Grand County's recreational resources, natural beauty, and agriculture lands. Spending on taxable goods by visitors and commercial interests generate 58 percent of the estimated sales tax revenue collections. Voting Yes for Issue 1A: Open Lands, Rivers and Trails on November 8 demonstrates that you value our mountain views, our rivers, our wetlands, our trails and our agricultural impact.
Tabernash resident and Executive Director of Headwaters Trails Allliance