Angling Trade Interviews U.S. Senator Mark Udall


Angling Trade editor Kirk Deeter recently had a unique opportunity to float on the Colorado River with Senator Mark Udall (D-CO).  The three-hour interview opportunity revolved around the budget debate, its impact on conservation programs, and how the outdoors and outdoor businesses are keystones in the economy.

It’s a common perception/misnomer that conservation work and government spending on public lands and public resources is an almost “philanthropic” deal… like a donation… a nice thing to do.  And in this day and age, with a giant federal deficit, and fragile economy, some say the government can’t afford that kind of “feel-good” spending.

Udall disputed this notion, saying, “The outdoors is a major economic driver, and if you focus on the long-term economy, investment in public lands is critical for jobs.”

For example, the second largest economic driver in Colorado is hunting-fishing—second to skiing (another outdoor business).  That’s bigger than all the cattle ranching, all the oil and gas development, the telecom and biotech, etc. interests in the state.  The same is true in many other Western states.

“And our outdoor resources drive international tourism, domestic tourism… the only way these economic drivers go away is if we neglect them,” said Udall. “You can’t outsource this river (the Colorado River) to China.”

Udall emphasized that people with a vested interest in natural resources, and access to public lands (read every individual and business in fly fishing) “should be vocal in reaching out to their national legislators in defense of conservation programs, and other initiatives that promote the outdoors.  (You can bank on the fact that other interest groups, e.g. energy development, agri-business, etc. are doing so with great frequency).

Here is one major issue to focus on:

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) which was specifically created as a trust fund that uses offshore mineral lease revenues to buy land for hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation. Created in 1964, it has only been fully directed toward it’s intended purposes twice since it was established.  In 2011, it was slashed by 33 percent.  That said, full funding for LWCF is one of the issues being championed by Senator Udall. LWCF is also the most likely conservation “win” in the offing, as it does have wide-ranging bipartisan support.

Look for more from this interview in the next issue of Angling Trade…



  1. Fantastic; ‘fishing and hunting the second largest economic driver in Colorado—second to skiing’. Outdoor pursuits are more valuable to the economy than oil and gas development. And remember, through the multiplier factor this economic benefit may be even more. And unlike resource extraction, this money keeps on flowing year on year. Leaving behind vibrant communities, not our very own scarred lands, dewatered or polluted streams and abandoned roads that cause erosion. Let’s shout this stuff from the rooftops please AFFTA!!
    I’m really looking forward to the rest of the interview, so kudos for getting it Kirk.

  2. Growing and stocking trout is an example of how the federal government can create jobs.
    A small investment creates an income stream for local and state economies, “which cannot be outsourced”.
    Very interesting. Should be required reading for many in Washington who consider this an expense not an investment.
    Dayton Keller

  3. Scott Wells on

    Good work Deeter.

    We need more of these type interviews with more of our elected officials at both the state and local level. It’s one thing to know that a candidate for office is endorsed by this or that group, it’s a whole ‘nuther to put em on the spot (or river) and get them to articulate their position on issues facing sportsmen.

    You should see if Ken Salazar has time for a float.

  4. Pingback: Angling Trade Interviews U.S. Senator Mark Udall | Bull Moose Sportsmen

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