Colorado Parks and Wildlife boss announces retirement after his suspension for racist remark |

Colorado Parks and Wildlife boss announces retirement after his suspension for racist remark

Dan Prenzlow used “in the back of the bus” to point out Black staffer being honored for her work organizing conference that focused on equity, diversity and inclusion

Jason Blevins
The Colorado Sun
Gov. Jared Polis on Wednesday, Oct. 20, named Garfield County’s Sweetwater Lake as the 43rd Colorado state park. Behind Polis is, from right to left, state Rep. Perry Will; Dan Gibbs, the director of the Department of Natural Resources; state Rep. Dylan Roberts; Jacque Buchanan, deputy regional foresters for the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Region; Jessica Foulis, the executive director of the Eagle Valley Land Trust; and Dan Prenzlow, the director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Jason Blevins/The Colorado Sun

Dan Prenzlow is retiring from Colorado Parks and Wildlife following his suspension after a Black employee complained about offensive remarks he made during a conference awards ceremony six months ago.

Alease “Aloe” Lee was the organizer of Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s annual Partners in the Outdoors conference when Prenzlow tried to thank her for her contributions, reportedly saying “there she is, in the back of the bus, Aloe!”

Later that night, a few hours after the event, Prenzlow sent an email to conference attendees, apologizing for “an insensitive comment.”

“I appreciate those who pointed out my statement and how my comment evokes painful realities that many have and continue to face,” Prenzlow wrote on April 19. “When we talk about intent versus impact, I learned how quickly a statement can have a harmful and hurtful impact.”

The statement landed on the final night of a conference that focused on broadening the appeal of outdoor recreation to a wider demographic through an expanding network of diverse partners. The backlash to Prenzlow’s statement has threatened Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s progress on diversity, equity and inclusion in the outdoors.


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