Imagine that you have paid a considerable price Visit a popular amusement park, Disneyland, for example, and when you get there it’s so crowded that you have a hard time doing what you’d like to do on your visit. Pretty stressful, right? Now imagine you discover that most of the other people there paid nothing to visit. They are there having fun while you, who paid a fee to enter, cannot. Or, even if you can, why did you have to pay and not?
Now, imagine that you are a hunter or a fisherman in Colorado, you have paid a (sometimes considerable) fee for a hunting or fishing license, and when you use your license in a Colorado State Park and Wildlife Area, you find hikers, runners, bikers, and families using it. dirt, which contributes to wear and tear, but they paid nothing. And sometimes there are so many recreational users that it would be unsafe to hunt or the other users are scaring the game you have a hunting license for. It seems a little unfair, doesn’t it?
This is the dilemma faced by hunters and fishermen and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) when it comes to many state wildlife areas (SWA). According to CPW Southeast Area Wildlife Manager Frank McGee, SWAs are reserved for “wildlife habitat and wildlife-related recreation to the extent that it does not interfere with the value of wildlife habitat.” Wildlife-related recreation is generally hunting and fishing, but can also include wildlife observation and bird watching. But while you need a license to go to a SWA to hunt and fish, you don’t need one to observe wildlife, which along with hiking or biking creates a funding gap.
According to McGee, CPW created a “Habitat Stamp” program in 2006 at the behest of hunters and fishermen as a source of funding to protect play areas. Seal program funds allow CPW to obtain conservation easements, for example, which allow access to what might otherwise be inaccessible playgrounds. The habitat seal was also seen as a way to make non-game users pay for the use of these state lands.
The idea was that a non-game user would buy the stamp alone, while hunters and fishermen should buy one with their license. McGee said that very few non-game users bought the seal, and the seal itself caused other problems. Since CPW is not funded by state taxes, it relies solely on user fees and licenses, along with money from a variety of federal funds, such as the Pittman-Robertson Act, the Dingell-Johnson Act, and Earth Conservation and the Bottom Water. Federal funds are generated by indirect taxes on firearms, ammunition, and hunting and fishing equipment and distributed to states by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. USA And the National Park Service.
According to McGee, one of the conditions associated with granting those funds to states is that if the agency raises money for purposes other than its intended programs, such as an entrance fee to a wildlife area, the state you must return a portion of the federal funds you received. Indeed, if CPW charged an entry fee to a SWA, and then had to pay back federal money, it would be raising money that it would only have to pay back. The Seal of Habitat, when purchased without a game or fishing license, can be viewed as an entry fee and does not comply with federal regulations.
So in an effort to make sure everyone pays the same To use SWA, CPW will require all users to purchase a hunting or fishing license, effective July 1. And since state parks and wildlife are two separate entities under the same roof, just as you don’t get a hunting license. If you enter a state park, your state park pass cannot be a substitute for one. license to enter a SWA.
Dome Rock State Wildlife Area near Divide, and directly adjacent to Mueller State Park, is a close example, and not a unique one. Lake Pueblo State Park is also directly adjacent not to one, but to two SWAs. In my previous column on this topic and the purchase of a few acres in what is now Dome Rock, a few clarifications: The land purchased by the Nature Conservancy represents less than 10 percent of the SWA, and was then turned over to what in time It was the Wildlife Division. Since it was intended for wildlife use, all parts of Dome Rock are included in the new fee requirement.
So how much will this cost the non-game user? The least expensive option for Colorado residents would be to purchase a one-day fishing license, for $ 13.90 per day, and the required Habitat Seal for $ 10.13 per year. An annual fishing license can be purchased for $ 35.17, however seniors (over 65) can obtain the annual license for $ 9.85 and are also exempt from the Seal of Habitat requirement.
As for me, my fishing license and habitat seal are on the way.
Be good. Do good things
Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, business owner, and author of Bob’s Hiking Tips, Tricks & Trails, available through its website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for almost 28 years. Follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (@hikingguide), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website (Hikingbob.com). Send questions, comments, suggestions, etc. by email to Bob: [email protected]