This is a big win for hunters and anglers! Last week, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission unanimously voted to expand access to Colorado state trust lands beginning this fall. Officials approved a multi-year plan that will open up 100,000 more acres in time for fall hunting season, expand public access on 500,000 acres and “eventually open a total of about 1 million acres to sportsmen and women,” The Denver Post reports.
This was an initiative supported by countless hunting and fishing organizations, including the Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA).
“This is a major step forward for those of us who rely on public hunting and fishing access for our time afield,” said BHA State Policy Director Tim Brass in a press release. “An expansion of public access on Colorado’s state lands is a surefire way to support new hunters, grow our rural economies and ensure all Colorado hunters and anglers have a place to hunt and fish. We thank CPW Director Dan Prenzlow, the CPW commission, the state land board and Governor Polis for their leadership on this important issue.
Much work remains to be done, but the addition of 100,000 acres of new public access in time for the 2019 hunting season is an accomplishment worth celebrating.”
In August, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will announce where the new accessible lands are located. According to KOAA.com, as part of the Public Access Program, the current 480,000 available acres are located in Northwestern Colorado “where there is prime big game hunting” as well as in the Eastern Colorado plains where many hunt birds and small game. As the state trust land expansion continues, it will open up an additional 980,000 acres, giving hunters and anglers seasonal access to roughly 35% of the state’s trust lands, according to BHA.
“I congratulate the Parks and Wildlife Commission and the State Land Board for expanding access to Colorado state lands,” said Dan Gibbs, Executive Director of the Department of Natural Resources. “The expansion of the Public Access Program passed by CPW today and the State Land Board earlier this month will grow the program by more than 20% to 585,000 acres over the next year. Colorado is a growing state with increased demand for recreation, hunting and angling throughout Colorado. In the coming years, Governor Polis and the Department of Natural Resources will continue to seek additional access opportunities to encourage Coloradans to experience, explore, and enjoy the outdoors.”