04/22/2012 02:25 pm ET Updated Jun 22, 2012

Celebrating Earth Day

Wallace Stegner, a great writer of the American West, called our magnificent Western landscapes the 'geography of hope.' These precious lands, he noted, gave Americans our opportunity and our prosperity. Today, we celebrate Earth Day by taking action and recognizing the important role our land, air and water have in sustaining our way of life. My life as an avid outdoorsman has taken me from the rivers and streams in the valleys to the highest peaks in the Rocky Mountains. Preserving and experiencing these unique treasures is what Earth Day is all about.

Our livelihood is intimately tied to the food we eat, water we drink and places where we recreate. That's why we have to promote responsibility and conservation when it comes to our natural resources. One way I'm working to ensure future generations enjoy these resources is by continuing to push for passage of my San Juan Mountains Wilderness bill and launching a collaborative process to establish new wilderness in the Central Mountains and Browns Canyon areas of Colorado. Listening to local communities results in the best proposals that create jobs and protect our wild lands.

Promoting wilderness is one way we can work to protect our natural treasures. I encourage Coloradans to join me in celebrating this 42nd annual Earth Day with friends, family and fellow environmental stewards to achieve a brighter future. Working together we can keep our wild lands wild, and our air and water clean. By accomplishing this, we will ensure our children too can enjoy the opportunity provided by the geography of hope -- the great gift of the American West.

When planning your time to celebrate our great outdoors, remember that this week is National Park Week and all of our national parks are waiving entrance fees. As Chairman of the National Parks Subcommittee, I encourage Americans to visit and enjoy these great resources.