At every Thanksgiving dinner, my family asks everyone around the table to say what they’re grateful for. It puts new guests on the spot, so sometimes they just thank the hosts — an easy out that makes it harder for anyone else struggling for a good answer. I’ve been in that position, but this year I know what I’m grateful for.

That’s because after years away, I’m back in the West, living in western Colorado, near millions of acres of public land. If the love of wide-open spaces defines a Westerner, then our region gives us lots to love.

Alaska, which is 95.8% public land, may be king among all states, with so much wide-open space available to everyone, but Nevada is close behind at 87.8%, and Utah is next at 75.2%. Idaho ranks third at 70.4%, and Colorado has 43.3%, with most of that land west of the Continental Divide.

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