2 delegates on Sportsmen’s Roundtable
A new approach to how state parks and wildlife officials collect information from the general public will include new roundtable meetings in Denver, and two local people named as delegates to the meetings are intended to be a voice for local issues at the discussions.
Grand Junction residents Jim Spehar and Kenny Marcella were recently elected as the area’s representation at the new Sportsmen’s Roundtable meetings, the first of which will happen next month.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife plans to hold the meetings twice a year. The meetings also will include 16 selected members, regional managers and division Director Rick Cables.
“We’re trying to balance making sure that we get a combination of all the different forces,” said Dave Chadwick, public participation specialist with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “Get a good diverse mix of people.”
“We just think it’s really important to gather input from our constituents — and of course hunters and anglers are one of our most important constituent groups on fish and wildlife issues,” Chadwick said.
Spehar and Marcella are both hunters and sportsmen’s advocates. Spehar — a former Grand Junction City Council member and Mesa County commissioner — is a weekly Daily Sentinel columnist and often raises issues about public lands and sportsmen’s rights in his columns.
“It’s just, I think, a part of our heritage, and a part of the things we need to preserve,” Spehar said, about the state’s network of parks and the hunting tradition that spans generations of his family.
Marcella is particularly involved with youth outdoors activities and has been connected to the state hunter outreach program for years and in the volunteer program since 1988.
“The new director is really concerned with having public input, and having the people kind of dictate what’s going on, versus just the top of the chain,” Marcella said.
“I think it’s good that (Director Cables) has sort of re- energized this process,” Spehar said. “I think the fact that they want to listen — and they want to hear all the opinions, and hopefully incorporate that into the agency’s decision-making — that’s good.”
What issues the Sportsmen’s Roundtables will take up “will be up to the group,” Chadwick said.
But he predicted topics surrounding the protection of habitat, how to get more people involved in hunting and fishing, or specific issues with different species management would be up for discussion.
“It’s really going to be an open forum,” he said.
While the new group has no real rule-making authority, it is intended to be a forum for issues that come from the public at large to be heard, through their delegate representatives.
Spehar can be reached at 970-260-0484, or by email at jim firstname.lastname@example.org. Marcella can be contacted at 970-523-1479 or at nwdelegatekenny email@example.com.
Local motorized-use access advocate Brandon Siegfried was named the alternate delegate.