By Makenzie O'Keefe

(CBS4) – As more and more people continue to get outdoors to recreate, there will be a major change starting July 1, 2020 for anyone who wants to access a State Wildlife Area (SWA) or State Trust Land leased by CPW. Any visitor 18 or older will now be required to have a valid hunting or fishing license to be on the land.

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“We’re just trying to get the properties back for wildlife, and the intended purpose,” said Mark Lamb, an area wildlife manager with Colorado Parks Wildlife.

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Across Colorado there are more than 300 SWA’s, which are acres of designated land for wildlife management, wildlife habitat, and wildlife related recreation.

“For most of the wildlife areas, hunting and fishing are the primary recreational activities,” Lamb said. “But here at this one, Mount Evans State Recreation Area a lot of people come to bike or hike too.”

(credit: CBS)

As our states population continues to grow and more people are itching to get inside during COVID-19, the state’s trails and wildlife areas are feeling the impacts of increased visitors.

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“One of the biggest issues with the other wildlife area is that people don’t stay on the trails,” Lamb said. “They like to kind of go wherever they want to go and that’s a big impact, that’s really pushing wildlife away.”

CPW hopes that requiring visitors to have a hunting or fishing license to use the SWA’s, even for hiking or biking, it will reduce negative impact.

(credit: CBS)

Lamb said another way it will help, is that the wildlife management department does not get tax dollars for conservation, so the money from the licenses will help to fund habitat projects. On Tuesday, Lamb showed CBS4’s Makenzie O’Keefe an area where they are working to get more vegetation for areas elk can go to survive the winter.

“Our revenue comes, like maintaining roads or trying to do habitat projects, from the sale of hunting or fishing licenses,” Lamb said.

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LINKS: Hunting Licenses | Fishing Licenses

Makenzie O'Keefe