Joe Neguse elected to chair Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands |

Joe Neguse elected to chair Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands

The congressman is the 1st Coloradan and African American to hold the position

Vail Daily staff report

EAGLE — On Wednesday, Rep. Joe Neguse’s office announced that he was elected to serve as chair of the U.S. House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands.

Neguse will replace Rep. Deb Haaland, who previously chaired the subcommittee, as she leaves to serve as the next secretary of the Department of the Interior.

Neguse — who serves Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District, including Summit County — is the first Coloradan to hold the position and the first African American to serve in the role since the committee was formed 215 years ago.

“I’m so honored to be elected chair of the National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee as we begin critical work to preserve our public lands, restore our forests and protect our communities from record-breaking wildfires,” Neguse said in a news release. “Colorado is home to diverse and rich ecosystems, and treasured public lands that make up over 36% of our state, including 12 national forests.

“Our state’s robust outdoor recreation economy also inextricably links Colorado’s lands with our economic growth. As a result, the issues discussed in this subcommittee have a profound impact on the health and safety of Coloradans, our local economies and every aspect of our environment. For Coloradans to have a voice as our subcommittee takes up issues surrounding public land preservation, environmental sustainability and wildfire mitigation is absolutely crucial. I look forward to the work ahead for our climate, our lands and for Colorado.”

As chair of the subcommittee, Neguse intends to pursue a “bold and comprehensive agenda” to protect America’s public lands, and will work closely with the Biden administration and Haaland. In the early days of his tenure, he plans to shepherd a public lands package through the U.S. House of Representatives. He also plans to introduce legislation to establish a 21st Century Conservation Corps and champion major investments in wildfire mitigation, resiliency and recovery in the wake of devastating wildfires in Colorado.

On Thursday, Feb. 18, Neguse hosted a public listening session to gain insights on the impacts and potential solutions to combat growing concerns about wildfires in the state. The session featured a panel discussion between Neguse, Gov. Jared Polis, Colorado Department of Public Safety Director Stan Hilkey and Sens. John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet.

In the wide-ranging discussion, officials shared their perspectives on the changes necessary to protect Colorado’s public lands, property and lives, and they turned to residents for questions and to share their experiences with local wildfires in recent years.

“It doesn’t escape me that the most devastating fires of 2020 burned at a time of the year when snow should be falling,” Neguse said on the call.

This story is from

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Summit Daily is embarking on a multiyear project to digitize its archives going back to 1989 and make them available to the public in partnership with the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. The full project is expected to cost about $165,000. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.

Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.