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Presidential caucus, gratitude, wild-lands conservation, and more 

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Saving the wild places

Protecting the places we hunt and fish is nothing new for sportsmen and women, because we know good habitat means strong herds and healthy fish. The idea that hunters and anglers are responsible for protecting habitat is one of the oldest forms of environmental advocacy in North America, owing its existence to sportsmen like Theodore Roosevelt.

Roosevelt, a Republican, would likely be proud of recent public lands conservation successes in Colorado, but also dismayed at some of the misguided actions taken by ideologically driven, anti-public lands politicians. Historically, public lands conservation has been a bipartisan undertaking. Here in Colorado, Browns Canyon (near Salida) is a textbook example.

Last year, President Obama designated 21,586 acres of low-elevation big game habitat along the Arkansas River as the Browns Canyon National Monument. Former U.S. Rep. Joel Hefley, a Republican who represented the district from 1987 to 2007, said: "I am thrilled that after all these years it is finally happening." U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, also a Republican, called Browns Canyon a "national treasure with a long history of bipartisan support in Colorado."

On the other hand, during 2015 some misguided Colorado state legislators proposed a bill to transfer federal public lands to the states. Thanks in great part to a deciding "no" vote on SB 232 (aka, the "federal land-grab bill") by Sen. Larry Crowder, R-Alamosa, no such legislation made it out of the Legislature.

Sen. Crowder surely took some heat from his own party, but Theodore Roosevelt had plenty of critics in his day, and they only steeled his resolve. America's great traditions of hunting, fishing and public lands recreation would be in tatters if not for the visionary and steadfast will of TR and those like him.

— David A. Lien

Colorado Chairman, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers

Colorado Springs

Steal a precinct!

During the last caucus in 2012, presidential nominees received between 2 and 10 votes in my precinct. Voter participation is abysmally low around here. If there is a Bull Moose candidate out there, my 12 friends can hand you the nomination for our precinct, while firing every incumbent. The rest of you get what you deserve, not what you demand.

— Kenton Lloyd

Colorado Springs

Happy message

I would like to ask everyone to take a moment and forget your prejudices, criticisms and everything that offends you, and focus instead on the blessings you receive each day. We spend far too much time and energy on complaining, judging and being offended.

A thousand things go right every day. It starts with simply being able to wake up each morning. As our day begins, it is filled with sublime gifts. Of the trillions of cells that we are comprised of, each individual cell is an intrinsic part of our body's ability to function and grow.

Each day the sun rises without us ever having to think about it. It nourishes us, keeps us warm and would kill us if it ever stopped shining. Many of us have clean water at our disposal, have access to food and are deeply loved by at least one person in this world.

The list is infinite. We need to expand our awareness to what is good in our lives and our world. An attitude of gratitude is needed if we want to see positive change. So, each day, take time out and count your blessings, relinquish negative judgments, see the best in others and live in love. The universe is kind, people.

— Talon Carver

Colorado Springs

Survivor politics

It has been said that lichen is the perfect symbiotic life form. It consists of two species — fungus and algae — that are so interconnected, they basically act as one species.

Donald Trump may have perfected the symbiotic relationship between celebrity and politics. Perhaps a reality show called The Real Federal Government could raise much-needed revenue.

Maybe America could vote off one politician each week. If we're going to go down the rabbit hole, let's at least have some perverted fun while we're at it.

Another point: Our country is divided over what genitals should be able to touch what genitals? When they say humanity is in its adolescence, perhaps that is a little optimistic.

— Brent Weiner

Manitou Springs

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