Colorado Parks and Wildlife sustainability bill fails in committee | SummitDaily.com

Colorado Parks and Wildlife sustainability bill fails in committee

Summit Daily staff report
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Parks and wildlife sustainability bill fails

A bill in the state Legislature to address funding shortfalls for Colorado Parks and Wildlife failed to make it out of a Senate committee last week, maintaining questions about the state agency's long-term financial sustainability.

House Bill 17-1321, introduced in April after more than a year of public meetings and planning, passed the House with bipartisan support by a vote of 42-22. It did not have the same support in the Senate Finance Committee, however, and was prevented from hitting the Senate floor.

CPW is primarily funded through license fees paid by hunters and anglers, as well as parks entrance, camping and registration fees. It lacks the ability to set and adjust fees to cover the rising costs associated with managing wildlife, conserving and enhancing habitat, and maintain and improving parks. The agency estimates that economic factors through the years have cut its spending power by more than 20 percent, leading to the slashing of $40 million from its budget and defunding of 50 positions. More than 100 dams have also had regular maintenance deferred due to the lack of necessary capital.

"Working with hunters, anglers, parks users, water providers and the public at large is critical in planning a path forward for CPW," said Bob Broscheid, CPW's director, in a news release.

About 13 million people visit Colorado's state parks annually, and approximately 1 million each year hunt and fish in the state. CPW will keep the public up to date on its financial sustainability as future plans are developed via its website.