If passed, a bill introduced April 23 in the State Senate means registering a car may also get you a yearly state parks pass. Senate Bill 21-249, "Keep Colorado Wild Annual Pass," will tack on an optional $40 fee to vehicle registrations in return for a state parks pass, good for one year. A yearly pass regularly costs $80.
The fee will goes toward a year's worth of entries to state parks, but Colorado Parks and Wildlife hopes it will also fund additional staffing at it's parks, support search and rescue teams, help pay for Colorado Avalanche Information Center's backcountry safety programs, lead to new state parks, increase capacity at existing parks and more.
CPW relies on a combination of funding sources, such as park entry and campground fees, hunting and fishing licenses, and federal excise taxes on firearms and ammunition, among other sources.
CPW says it hopes it will generate enough funding to eventually lower the fee to $20 per year. Daily and yearly passes will still be available for purchase at state parks and CPW offices at the regular rate.
In its FAQ about the proposal, CPW acknowledges this program could increase visitor numbers at its parks and other properties. However, CPW hopes the revenue from this program will also allow it to manage the 30 percent increase in visitors it has seen over the last year, and any additional increases resulting from this program. Some visitor-management concepts include shuttle services, timed-entry and "other tools yet to be determined."
As of this writing, the bill has been assigned to the Agriculture and Natural Resources committee, with a hearing on the bill scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on May 6.
Colorado's state parks are not the only public lands experiencing the side-effects of increased usage. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Royal Gorge Field Office is seeking public input prior to starting a planning effort to improve travel and camping on its lands in Chaffee County. The public input period runs through May 20. Find more information, and submit comments here.
Be Good. Do Good Things.