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Osprey supports ‘protections for Dolores River Canyons’

Since 1974, Osprey has provided hikers, backpackers, bikers and everyday travelers with innovative and long-lasting carry solutions, each thoughtfully designed to reflect a passion for exploration and the outdoors. Finding a home in Cortez, where the rugged foothills of Colorado’s San Juan Mountains meet the spectacular Southwest desert, these surroundings provide the ultimate product testing ground, guaranteeing that our technical packs are up to challenges users may encounter.

One of these magnificent landscapes directly in our backyard is defined by the Dolores River. Zigzagging through southwest Colorado’s vast canyon country, the river provides the backbone to thriving ecosystems and recreational opportunities. There are also exciting efforts taking place to protect this region, providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reimagine how these lands can be managed into the future for the benefit of all.

The Dolores River Canyons span from Montezuma County up to the confluence with the Colorado River; an area covering five counties. Right now, there are two policy proposals that would protect the incredible values of this area while maintaining recreation access: a National Conservation Area in the southern three counties and a national monument proposal to the north in Mesa and Montrose counties.

We believe that both proposals, with all appropriate stakeholders involved, can help preserve this landscape for generations to come. The river and surrounding canyon country have been the bedrock of life for generations, sustaining Indigenous communities, rich biodiversity and small towns weathering the boom-and-bust cycles of extractive industries.

Conservation of our public lands not only helps preserve biodiversity, wildlife habitat and water quality. It also helps drive the development of vibrant, sustainable economies by enhancing access for outdoor recreation, while safeguarding the region’s most sensitive cultural and natural resources for generations to come.

In 2022, the outdoor recreation economy in Colorado contributed $13.9 billion to the state’s gross domestic product and sustained nearly 130,000 jobs. Having the Dolores River Canyons in our backyard is critical for the continued success within our local community and for our business.

Located in a remote, rural area, our community relies heavily on access to recreation. Not only does it aid in our recruitment and retention as a brand, but access to recreation and public lands directly supports our local community and economy, and, therefore, has a positive impact on our business and our industry as a whole.

As a brand that works and lives in the outdoor recreation space, we understand the impacts that people who use our products can have on the land. Protection efforts such as the NCA and national monument promote proactive planning to ensure proper infrastructure and design are put into place now to support multi-use on public lands well in the future.

Furthermore, both of these proposals would support traditional land use, including existing and valid mining claims and grazing, while helping safeguard critical cultural and biological heritage. In other words, these efforts provide a balance for the varied stakeholders that are directly connected to these lands.

The NCA proposal boasts bipartisan support at both the local and national level, and is truly a product of community compromise.

As a business in the outdoor industry, we support protections for the Dolores River Canyons. These efforts will help provide economic incentives for increased investment in key communities, increase federal support for stewardship, increase climate resiliency of the landscape and broaden protections that echo local voices.

We call on our elected officials to continue to champion the conservation of these remarkable public lands.

Rob BonDurant is vice president of marketing at Osprey Packs, Inc., a Helen of Troy company.