From the Colorado Division of Wildlife
-- When Colorado's Wildlife Commission meets with the State Parks Board March 10, they'll discuss the potential conversion of several state parks into State Wildlife Areas.
Gov. John Hickenlooper has announced that four state parks will be re-purposed as part of a budget proposal that will trim Colorado State Parks expenditures by $3.3 million in the fiscal year beginning July 1.
Commissioners will also begin a formal review of plans to mitigate the impacts to fish and wildlife resources from planned water projects on both sides of the Continental Divide, consider establishing a user fee for two northeastern State Wildlife Areas and hear a citizen petition. The meeting is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Hunter Education Building on the Colorado Division of Wildlife campus at 6060 Broadway in Denver.
Colorado's State Parks attract more than 11 million visitors a year and offer outdoor recreation destinations for angling, boating, camping, hiking and other activities. State Wildlife Areas are primarily managed to benefit wildlife and wildlife related recreation.
Among the topics at their joint meeting, the Commission and the Parks Board will discuss a public process to gather input on how certain State Parks might be repurposed as State Wildlife Areas given the budget decisions made by the Governor. They will also seek to define a public process that will help minimize the impact of a change in missions for those properties.
Neither the Wildlife Commission nor the Parks Board has met since the Governor's announcement, and no decisions regarding the potential conversion of parks to state wildlife areas have yet been made.
During the afternoon session, the Wildlife Commission will initiate a formal review of plans to mitigate impacts to fish and wildlife resources that would be created by two major trans-mountain water development projects. The 60-day review of mitigation plans to be presented by Denver Water and the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District is required by statute as part of each project's federal permitting process.
Also on the Commission agenda is final consideration of a new regulation establishing an annual access fee for two popular northeastern State Wildlife Areas to address public safety and user conflict issues stemming from recreational activities not related to the areas' primary wildlife purpose.
The proposal would require adults who do not possess a valid annual Colorado hunting or fishing license to purchase a $36 annual permit to enter Jumbo Reservoir or Prewitt Reservoir State Wildlife Areas. Permits would be valid from April 1 to March 31 annually and could be purchased anywhere that hunting and fishing licenses are sold.
The agenda for the March Wildlife Commission meeting, as well as a complete list of regulation changes for State Wildlife Areas, can be found on the Wildlife Commission web page.
Members of the public unable to attend Commission meetings or workshops can listen to the proceedings through a link on the DOW's website. To access the live audio feed during the meeting, click on the "listen to live audio" link at the bottom of the Commission webpage at http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeCommission/
For more information about Division of Wildlife go to http://wildlife.state.co.us.