Parks and wildlife are vital parts of our Colorado economy and quality of life. According to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife department, there is a $6.1 billion economic contribution across our state from wildlife viewing, state park visitors, anglers and hunters. This year, the department went to the the state with the 2018 Hunting, Fishing and Parks for Future Generations Act, SB18-143. The act would support the ten goals of the CPW that guarantee a future of outdoor recreation, hunting, fishing and land protection with an increase in revenue and opportunties for the department.
According to the department, the ten goals to be funded in part through the changes in fees introduced through the bill include:
Growing the number of hunters and anglers in Colorado through investments in programs such as hunter education, Fishing is Fun, and the Cameo Shooting and Education Complex, and grants for shooting ranges in all regions of the state.
Expanding access for hunters, anglers and outdoor recreationists by renewing existing high-priority leases and supporting additional public access programs on public and private lands.
Increasing and improve big game populations through investments in habitat and conservation, including building more highway wildlife crossings to protect wildlife and motorists.
Improving species distribution and abundance monitoring and disease prevention efforts through partnerships with private landowners.
Increasing the number of fish stocked in Colorado waters to above 90 million through hatchery modernization and renovations.
Identifying and beginning to plan the development of Colorado’s next state park.
Reducing risks to life and property and sustaining water-based recreation opportunities by reducing CPW’s dam maintenance and repair backlog by 50 percent.
Engaging all outdoor recreationists, such as hikers, bikers, and wildlife watchers, in the maintenance of state lands and facilities and the management of wildlife.
Recruiting and retaining qualified employees to manage wildlife, park, recreational and aquatic resources.
Providing quality infrastructure at CPW properties by completing much needed construction and maintenance.
By 2025, CPW forecasts a budget shortfall of $30 million annually for wildlife and $11 million annually for parks. The legislative proposal helps address these shortgalls by making small increases to multi-day/annual resident hunting and fishing licenses, and single-day licenses, among other adjustments. The bill also allows CPW to issue a discounted license to someone who fits a targetted grop like veterans or young adults. While each adjustment is small, they add up to protecting Colorado for the long-term. Read the details from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife flyer, here. And you can watch the department;s video introducing the bill and the need for increased revenue, here.
As of April 26th, the bill is at the desk of Governor Hickenlooper to be signed into law. This funding is crucial for the future care of our state parks, and we look forward to hearing the bill is officially signed and implemented. Enjoy your state parks this year!