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WATCH: Gov. John Hickenlooper’s speech for the Outdoor Retailer show

Author: Joey Bunch - January 26, 2018 - Updated: February 15, 2018

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As somewhat a victory dance in words, Gov. John Hickenlooper kicked off the Outdoor Retailer trade show with members of Conservation Colorado Wednesday night. Colorado won the trade show away from Salt Lake City over political philosophy over public lands.

The governor and the state’s largest environmental organization want to spread the word that there’s gold in those unmined hills and that people will spend a lot of one kind of green to enjoy another. (Not pot, OK?)

Love of place is an economic driver, Hickenlooper said in his address, which you can watch above.

“I am convinced that is the foundation of almost all economic development,” he said. “When people love where they are they are willing to invest themselves, their time, their resources. They’ll do everything they can to make the place they love better.”

Hickenlooper retold Colorado’s several environmental wins the last few years, from vowing to exceed the Paris Climate Accord as President Trump pulled the nation out last summer to this week’s electric vehicle charging grid across the Rocky Mountain West.

He pointed to Colorado’s long-range water plan, two years in the making.

“We know that when we protect our air, water and public lands, we well set up skiing, snowboarding, paddle boarding, kayaking, fly fishing, you name it, food production, and let’s not forget the manufacture of quality beer.”

Hickenlooper noted Colorado was the first state to create a state Public Lands Day last year and created the national model for regulating methane gas releases on public lands.

He said he expects a bill this session that would allow private landowners to let recreational users pass through without legal liability.

“When they do that they will allow people access to national forests, to wilderness areas, and they will not be sued,” the governor said.

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.