Starting today, if you want to access any of Colorado’s State Wildlife Areas (SWA) or State Trust Land (STL) leased by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), you must have a valid hunting or fishing license. The regulation change, which was approved on April 30, goes into effect as of July 1, 2020 and will hopefully decrease the use of the land for “non-wildlife-related” uses, according to the agency.
“By policy, state wildlife areas are acquired with hunter and angler dollars, and are intended specifically to provide wildlife habitat and wildlife-related recreation,” said Southeast Regional Manager Brett Ackerman. “This rule is aimed at curtailing non-wildlife-related use of these properties.
While SWAs and STLs have historically been open to the general public, over the past few years, CPW has had to deal with illegal camping and others “engaging in recreational activities that disturb or displace wildlife,” according to Channel 9 News. Additional issues also involve the use of vehicles on big game winter range and general vandalism.
“There’s certainly an impact on staff and resources, potential public health impact, degradation of habitat and displacement of wildlife,” said Ackerman. “There is a pattern of non-wildlife related issues we’re seeing out there.”
The new regulation applies to anyone 18 or older. It also signals the fact that wildlife management within the state is funded by the sale of hunting and fishing licenses.
“This new rule change will help our agency begin to address some of the unintended uses we’re seeing at many of our State Wildlife Areas and State Trust Lands,” said CPW Director Dan Prenzlow.