State Wildlife Areas to begin charging fee for access |

State Wildlife Areas to begin charging fee for access

** FILE **A sign marks the Coller State Wildlife Area on the line between Mineral and Rio Grande counties near South Fork, Colo., seen in this Monday, April 18, 2005, file photo. A new law will require a $10 permit for people who use the state wildlife areas after Jan. 1, 2006. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

THORNTON – Angela Menzor loved the view when she moved into her home in a trailer park overlooking the Grandview Ponds State Wildlife Area. But she has no plans to walk the 200 yards down to the pond when the state begins requiring a $10 permit on Jan. 1.”I’m not going to pay. It looks like a public area to me,” she said.Tyler Baskfield, spokesman for the Division of Wildlife, which will be in charge of collecting the fees and enforcing the program, said the goal is to get people to use the land for appreciation of wildlife, not to walk their dogs or toss Frisbees around.

“A lot of activities are not good,” he said. “Dogs can get into duck nests. We want this as a refuge for wildlife. Some of these properties were purchased years ago and development has encroached.”Baskfield said people should enjoy their wildlife areas, but those who hike, bike and romp without the new $10 wildlife stamp will face a $68 fine.The law is one of 18 in Colorado going into effect this coming Sunday. Some of the other new laws will allow parents to provide health insurance for children under 25 and bar the use of genetic tests to establish paternity following a divorce.

Wayne East, executive director of the Colorado Wildlife Federation, which campaigned for the annual wildlife stamps, said the money will be used to buy more wildlife preservation areas and to improve existing areas. He said hunters and anglers were fed up having to pay for wildlife areas that were enjoyed by others.”This allows the non-hunter and angler to enjoy wildlife,” he said.The program also requires hunters and anglers to contribute. The Colorado Wildlife Habitat Stamp is $10 if purchased without a hunting or fishing license. When purchased with a license, it is $5 and required on the first two licenses purchased in a calendar year. A lifetime stamp is available for $200, according to the state agency.

The program is expected to raise about $2.3 million a year. The new rules apply to hundreds of thousands of acres of state wildlife areas across the state.

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