Letter: Support sportsmen access
February 18, 2018
For several years Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) personnel have been reaching out to hunters and anglers to raise awareness about CPW's increasingly harmful budget conundrum.
And there's legislation currently in the state Senate (SB18-143) that will help fix this problem. "This bill … would bring needed revenue to … [CPW] from increases in the sale of hunting and fishing licenses as well as park passes," explains Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Legislative Liaison Ivan James. "The last increase in hunting and fishing license fees was 12 years ago, and the previous one 14 years before that."
According to the Colorado Springs Gazette Editorial Board (in "Our fish and wildlife assets are not free," 2/10/18): "State park entry fees have not changed since 2010. To adjust for inflation and increasing demand … the agency has cut or defunded 50 positions and reduced $40 million from its wildlife budget since 2009. The austerity measures, which take a toll on residents and visitors, have not been enough. CPW's wildlife budget faces a projected deficit of nearly $30 million annually by 2025 and an annual parks deficit of $11 million."
It's estimated that in 2016, 82.4 million visitors came to Colorado to take advantage of our innumerable outdoor activities. These individuals, plus Colorado residents, generated $28 billion in consumer spending, contributed $9.7 billion in wages and more than $2 billion in taxes while creating for Colorado in excess of 229,000 jobs.
CPW plays an integral role in assuring that Coloradans and others continue to have high quality experiences when they hunt, fish, hike or otherwise experience Colorado's great public lands estate. Let's make sure they have the resources to do their jobs. In the words of Gov. John Hickenlooper: "Clean air, clean water, public lands, that's about the most nonpartisan position you could have." We couldn't agree more.
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chairman, Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers