4:00am

Mon January 2, 2012
Environment

Hunters, Anglers to Gather for International Expo in Denver

Thousands of hunters and anglers will convene in Denver later this week for the annual International Sportsmen’s Expo. The event comes as many sportsmen’s groups are fighting expanded oil and gas development on western public lands.

In 2008, Colorado sportsmen and outdoor groups forged unlikely alliances with environmentalists to flex their political muscle, backing mostly Democrats who promised to limit oil and gas drilling in long-prized hunting areas. 

Now with land managers looking to lease places like the remote North Park area, Bill Dvorak says there’s every indication sportsmen will be politically active this year too. 

"A lot of people don’t realize but recreation, hunting, fishing, wildlife watching, climbing, hiking, all those things, we’re actually the second largest industry in the state of Colorado," says Dvorak, who runs a guiding business near Salida and is also public lands director for the National Wildlife Federation.

"It’s the kind of industry that’s going to be there forever as long as we look after the environment," he adds.

Dvorak says the expo is a good opportunity to educate many hunters and anglers about energy development and its potential impacts on hunting, as well as several pending bills in Congress that he says could open more public lands to development of all kinds.  

The event begins Thursday and runs through Sunday at the Colorado Convention Center.