Annual Colorado College report to grade effectiveness of regions' senators and congressmen - Colorado College

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Leslie Weddell
(719) 389-6038 


Annual Colorado College report and symposium grades
effectiveness of regions' senators and congressmen

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – March 3, 2009 – The eight-state Rocky Mountain West is undergoing rapid, profound and long-lasting changes. New populations, new jobs and diverse economies vie with loss of habitats and open spaces, shortages of water and shifting priorities and centers of influence.

The region has the highest population growth rate in the nation, and change is undeniable: The rural West, long home to boom-bust cycles fueled by demand for natural resources, is declining in population, as “mega” metropolitan corridors draw jobs and residents from surrounding areas and other regions.

What does this mean for the Rockies during the next 50 years?

The sixth annual Colorado College State of the Rockies Report, to be released April 5, and the State of the Rockies Symposium, April 5-7 on the Colorado College campus, will examine critical issues facing the eight-state Rocky Mountain region, comprised of Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Predicting the future is risky, but neglecting to antici­pate and plan for continued change is even more foolhardy.

This year’s 130-page report addresses the following issues:

  • Repopulating the Rockies: Highlighting the Megapolitan and Rural Economic Clusters of the Region
  • Wild and Scenic Rivers: The Importance of Federal River Protection in the Rockies
  • Wildlife Range and Condition: The Historic and Current State of Wildlife in the Rockies
  • Impacts of Energy Development on Wildlife: Highlighting the Unique Resources of the Region
  • Wildlife Management: Facilitating safe and sustainable wildlife populations in the Rockies
  • United States Laws and Politics Protecting Wildlife

Additionally, there are three graded “Rockies Snapshot” sections, which provide insightful statistics and analysis of:

  • Historic Preservation: The process, prevalence and state of historic preservation in the Rockies
  • Incarceration and Crime: The region's status and share of internment
  • Federal Representation: The effectiveness of Rockies' senators and representatives

Each year, the State of the Rockies Project team, which includes Colorado College undergraduate students, recent graduates and a faculty adviser, conducts extensive research and creates a comprehensive report on the region.

The State of the Rockies Symposium draws speakers and political, environmental, economic, cultural and community leaders who shed additional light on the report’s content with lectures and discussions about the “state” of the beautiful yet fragile Rockies region.

This year the Champion of the Rockies Award will be presented to Ed and Betsy Marston, the former publisher and editor, respectively, of High Country News in Paonia, Colo. The award was initiated in 2006-07, and the first recipient was environmentalist, philanthropist and media giant Ted Turner. The award honors outstanding leaders of vision, drive and determination who are helping to shape the future of the Rocky Mountain West.

All events will be held on the Colorado College campus in Colorado Springs. The symposium is free and open to the public; registration is not required. For more information, call (719) 227-8145 or visit

Symposium Schedule:

Sunday April 5, 2009 A Future Rockies for Recreation
Clinic: Lightweight Backpacking: Surviving on 7 Pounds: Andrew Skurka, National Geographic Adventure Magazine’s 2007 Adventurer of the Year will discuss and give a hands-on demonstration of lightweight equipment and gear. 1:30  p.m., Slocum Commons, first floor, SW wing, Slocum Hall, 130 E. Cache La Poudre St., free
Lecture: Walking the Great Western Loop: Andrew Skurka, National Geographic Adventure Magazine’s 2007 Adventurer of the Year: The Walking Man, will given an illustrated talk on his seven-month trek in which he covered 6,875 miles (33 miles per day) with 7 pounds of equipment on 7,000 calories per day, visiting 12 National Parks and more than 75 wilderness areas (distance equivalent to 262 marathons). 4  p.m., Armstrong Theatre, inside Armstrong Hall, 14 E. Cache La Poudre St., free
A Business Vision of the Rockies in 50 Years and its Impact on Recreation and the Environment: Sally Jewell, President and CEO, Recreational Equipment Inc. 7  p.m., Armstrong Theatre, inside Armstrong Hall, 14 E. Cache La Poudre St., free

Monday April 6, 2009 A Future Rockies through Compromise and Consensus
Symposium: Saving the Spine of the Rockies: Discussion and audio-visuals concerning a conservation plan to pro­tect the heart of the Rockies, including the Southern Rockies ecosystem Project and Yellowstone to Yukon. Speakers include Joshua Pollock, acting executive director, Center for Native Ecosystems; and Penelope Pierce, regional director, Yellowstone to Yukon.
4 p.m., Armstrong Theatre, inside Armstrong Hall, 14 E. Cache La Poudre St., free
Award Presentation: 2008-09 Champion of the Rockies Award presented to Ed and Betsy Marston of the High Country News.
Symposium: A “Radical Center”: Nongovernmental Examples of How to Foster Wildlife: George Cooper, president and CEO, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and Dr. Mark Shaffer, director, environment program, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. 7  p.m., Armstrong Theatre, inside Armstrong Hall, 14 E. Cache La Poudre St., free

Tuesday April 7, 2009: A Future Rockies Filled With People
Recognition of student photo contest
Symposium: A Demographic Look at Megapolitan and Rural Service Clusters in the Rockies:  Robert Lang, co-director, Metropolitan Institute, Virginia Tech University and Amy Liu, deputy director, Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institution. 7 p.m., Armstrong Theatre, inside Armstrong Hall, 14 E. Cache La Poudre St., free

The 2009 symposium schedule also can be viewed at:

About the State of the Rockies Project
The Colorado College State of the Rockies Project is designed to provide a thoughtful, objective voice in regional issues by offering credible research on problems facing the Rocky Mountain West, and by convening citizens and experts to discuss the future of the region. Each year the project provides opportunities for collaborative student-faculty research partnerships, an annual State of the Rockies Report Card, and a companion State of the Rockies Symposium. 

For information, directions or disability accommodation at the events, members of the public may call (719) 389-6607.

About Colorado College
Colorado College is a nationally prominent, four-year liberal arts college that was founded in Colorado Springs in 1874. The college operates on the innovative Block Plan, in which its 1,985 undergraduate students study one course at a time in intensive 3½-week blocks. The college also offers a master of arts in teaching degree. For more information, visit <>.