On Thursday, September 12, Governor Jared Polis announced that Colorado will establish additional state parks. According to a press release from the Governor, the process will begin with Fishers Peak. The 9,633-foot mountain is the highest peak in the U.S. east of I-25.
A diverse group of stakeholders is coming together to develop the new park with contributions from the City of Trinidad, The Trust for Public Land, The Nature Conservancy, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and Great Outdoors Colorado.
“We could not be prouder that more than 14 million dollars of Lottery proceeds helped fund the project,” said Lu Cordova, Executive Director of the Department of Revenue. The land is currently owned by The Nature Conservancy and The Trust for Public Land and will be transferred to public ownership.
The park will provide opportunities for recreation and economic growth in Trinidad, as well as conservation for the 30-square-mile wildlife corridor.
According to Polis, the move will “provide sustainable recreational access, protect wildlife habitat, and create a publicly-owned State Park that will serve as an economic engine for Trinidad and southern Colorado.”
Dan Prenzlow, director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife says, “…a property like this would allow us to further balance conservation of our wildlife and habitat with recreational needs, both synonymous with our State. These resources form the very fabric of our State and define who we are.”
This executive order by Governor Polis shows the role and place of people in nature. Queer people overcome gatekeeping and lack of access to outdoor resources, but at the same time are more exposed to pollution and effects of environmental degradation.
Poets like Eliza Beth Whittington are creating art that connect the queer experience with nature and the environment. Queer Nature is a queer education program based on Arapaho, Ute, and Cheyenne Territories (Boulder, CO). The organization has nurtured and built space for LGBTQ people and QTBIPOC (queer and trans black and indigenous people of color) to connect and exist within nature. Hopefully, Fishers Peak is an opportunity for outdoor spaces to be made more available and accessible for queer people.