Michael believes protecting public lands and wild places is an integral part of Colorado’s heritage, economy, and way of life. Michael fought to permanently and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund – a crucial tool to protect and guarantee access to Colorado’s public lands for all. He also has introduced the Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy (CORE) Act to protect over 400,000 acres of public land in Colorado, establish new wilderness areas, and safeguard existing outdoor recreation opportunities to boost the economy for future generations. 

After more than a decade of partnership with communities throughout Colorado, Michael introduced the CORE Act in 2019. Colorado counties – in close coordination with businesses, ranchers, recreation groups, hunters, anglers, and conservationists – helped write each element of the CORE Act. The CORE Act combines three bills that Michael previously introduced: the Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness and Camp Hale Legacy Act; the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act; and the Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act. It also includes the Curecanti National Recreation Area Boundary Establishment Act, an effort Michael began in 2011. 

Of the 400,000 acres of land protected, about 73,000 acres are new wilderness areas, and nearly 80,000 acres are new recreation and conservation management areas that preserve existing outdoor uses, such as hiking and mountain biking. The bill also includes a first-of-its-kind National Historic Landscape to honor Colorado’s military legacy at Camp Hale and prohibits new oil and gas development in areas important to ranchers and sportsmen.

Michael continues to work with Colorado communities and his Senate colleagues to push for a vote on the bill in the Senate.