AUGUST 7, 2018 BY 

Adopted by a Steamboat Pilot and Today article

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A rancher, an entrepreneur, a county commissioner, an Olympian and a Native American poet and activist walk onto the courthouse lawn.

There is no punchline. All are speaking at Friday’s “Stand For Our Land” rally starting at 5:30 p.m. on the Routt County Courthouse lawn.

The rally is taking place in response to U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s visit to Steamboat Springs.

As the head of the Department of the Interior, Zinke oversees the National Parks Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and a number of other agencies that manage public land and natural resources. He will give a keynote speech around 7 p.m. Friday at The Steamboat Grand, highlighting the first evening of The Steamboat Institute’s Freedom Conference.

Speakers at the rally are as follows.

  • Diné poet Lyla June will open with a benediction and performance of spoken word art.
  • Hala Gear founder Peter Hall and Smartwool’s director of global communications Molly Cuffe will speak on behalf of the outdoor recreation industry.
  • Jonah Lotz of Fetcher Ranch will discuss public lands and agriculture.
  • Routt County Commissioner Tim Corrigan and State Rep. Dylan Roberts will talk about economic and legislative impacts of public land policy on the state and county.
  • Olympic gold medalist and former Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club coach Deb Armstrong will speak to the role that public lands play in the area’s winter sports heritage.
  • “Public lands have multiple interests all around them, all the time,” said Cody Perry, one of the rally’s organizers. “Those interests need to be speaking face to face. They need to be working with each other to properly manage these lands, and with Zinke’s agenda, we’ve seen a reduction in the communal approach to land management, and we’ve seen an emphasis on extractive industries.”

Armstrong said she’s speaking at the event to set an example for her daughter.

“I’m standing up for her and the planet that she’s going to inherit,” she said.

“Life as I know it has been shaped in and around public lands,” she added. “Our Steamboat economy — tourism, forests, ranching, recreation, skiing — relies on the use of our public lands.”

Armstrong said she doesn’t think Zinke’s long-term views align with Steamboat’s best interests. She hopes her speech will be a call to action for others.

Organizers plan to have live music and voter registration booths set up at the rally.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the power in community coming together under a banner of standing for our public lands,” Perry said. “There’s power in seeing each other and seeing all of us come together around that.”

He added that the rally is “totally focused on Zinke, his policies and how they threaten our shared public trust.” Perry said he doesn’t have any adversarial interest in The Steamboat Institute’s event, and he wishes the organization the “best of luck” with its conference.