2018 #COleg: SB18-143 (Parks And Wildlife Measures To Increase Revenue) introduced

From KOAA.com (Tyler Dumas):

A bipartisan group of Colorado lawmakers has introduced a new bill with the hopes of ensuring access to Colorado’s natural resources for future generations, by finding a long-term funding solution for Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW).

Senate Bill 18-143, or the Hunting, Fishing, and Parks for Future Generations Act was introduced on Monday, Jan. 29.

The bill is sponsored by two Republicans – Sen. Don Coram of Montrose and Rep. Jim Wilson of Salida – as well as two Democrats – Sen. Stephen Fenberg of Boulder and Rep. Jeni Arndt of Fort Collins.

CPW said the bill was introduced after roughly three years of public meetings with legislators and outdoor enthusiasts, regarding the agency’s financial challenges and the future of Colorado’s outdoor recreation, state parks, and wildlife.

CPW receives less than one percent of it’s annual budget from general fund tax revenue. They rely primarily on sales of hunting and fishing licenses, park passes, and camping fees. With the proposed bill, the agency is seeking approval to adjust fees to cover the rising costs associated with managing wildlife, protecting habitat, and maintaining and improving state parks to meet the needs of a growing population.

With new funding the bill would bring, CPW said they are committed to pursuing the following goals and objectives by 2025:

  • Grow 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.
  • Expand access for hunters, anglers and outdoor recreationists by renewing existing high-priority leases and supporting additional public access programs on public and private lands.
  • Increase and improve big game populations through investments in habitat and conservation, including building more highway wildlife crossings to protect wildlife and motorists.
  • Improve species distribution and abundance monitoring and disease prevention efforts through partnerships with private landowners.
  • Increase the number of fish stocked in Colorado waters to above 90 million through hatchery modernization and renovations.
  • Identify and begin planning the development of Colorado’s next state park.
  • Reduce risks to life and property and sustain water-based recreation opportunities by reducing CPW’s dam maintenance and repair backlog by 50 percent.
  • Engage all outdoor recreationists, such as hikers, bikers, and wildlife watchers, in the maintenance of state lands and facilities and the management of wildlife.
  • Recruit and retain qualified employees to manage wildlife, park, recreational and aquatic resources.
    Provide quality infrastructure at CPW properties by completing much needed construction and maintenance.
  • In order to achieve these objectives, the bill would adjust fees for hunting and fishing licenses, as well as park passes. Hunting and fishing licenses would increase by $8. For example, an annual fishing license would increase from $26 to $33, and an elk tag would increase from $45 to $53. The bill would however reduce the price of an annual fishing license for those 16 and 17-years-old to $8. It would also allow the Parks and Wildlife Commission to implement other license discounts, in order to introduce a new generation of hunters and anglers to the outdoors.

    In addition to licenses, the proposed bill would CPW to raise state park entrance fees. Any increase though would be capped at $1/year for a daily pass, and $10/year for an annual pass.

    For more information on the Future Generations Act, you can visit the CPW website at the following link: Future Generations Act

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