DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado Parks and Wildlife wants to hear from hunters and anglers about how the organization can make some budget cuts without compromising the outdoor experience.
CPW has faced substantial budget shortfalls in recent years which have resulted in the elimination of more than 50 positions and $40 million from wildlife budgets.
CPW says wildlife funding provided by sportsmen contributes to hunting opportunities while sustaining healthy populations, operating fish hatcheries that provide diverse fishing opportunities for Colorado lakes and rivers, preserving wildlife areas and restoring wildlife populations to Colorado.
“People will see a cut in fish management we’ll see a cut in licenses that are available to the public. We’ll see less access to places they have hunted and fished in the past and so we’d like to not see that happen obviously, but it’s up to the sportsmen. Do you want to increase a little bit, do you want no increase, do you want to double fees (fishing and hunting licenses)? That is something that is definitely part of the conversation but it’s not up to us. Any conversations we’re having right now is data gathering. We want to make sure that we hear from sportsmen, ‘What do you think we should do?’ At that point it will be up to our legislature to determine whether or not we have the ability to increase fees and to what degree that would look like,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill.
The organization said that without increasing revenues, CPW will have to cut staff and possibly reduce access to hunting and fishing. Extreme measures would include putting gates on state lands, shutting down hatcheries and limiting hunting licenses.
Some sportsmen may be willing to pay more to keep hunting and fishing rights across Colorado.
CPW will take comments and input on how to manage the shortfall at two meetings this week. Everyone is invited to attend.
Tuesday, Aug. 30, 6 p.m.
350 E Horsetooth Rd, Fort Collins
Wednesday, Aug. 31, 6:30 p.m.
Evergreen Fire Rescue
1802 Bergen Pkwy, Evergreen
Those who cannot attend can comment directly to the CPW online.