Hunting lands in Colorado will expand by 100,000 acres this fall as a part of the Public Access Program, Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced this week.
The program seeks to more than double its available 480,000 acres of hunting areas to a total of 1 million acres over the next three years, Colorado Parks and Wildlife media contact Travis Duncan said in a news release. This is the first expansion of the program since 1993.
Dan Gibbs, executive director of the Department of Natural Resources, said the program will expand accessible hunting lands by 20 percent in the next year. He said the state’s growing population has heightened demand for outdoor recreation.
The exact locations of the expansion will be announced in August, but primarily will be in northwestern Colorado (a prime big-game hunting region) and on the eastern plains (birds and small game).
“Colorado is known for our incredible natural beauty, and I’m committed to expanding the public’s access to and enjoyment of our treasured state and federal land,” Governor Jared Polis said in the release. “Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Public Access Program for sportsmen and women is growing just in time for the upcoming 2019 hunting season.”
The Public Access Program provides seasonal hunting and fishing opportunities within the 23 million acres of Colorado’s 66.6 million acre land mass.
A portion of the program’s land is Colorado trust land. Trust lands are areas leased by the State Land Board to earn money for public schools. Colorado public schools have gained $1.4 billion in the past decade from trust lands being leased for recreation and hunting.
“I’m thrilled that hunters and anglers will have more access to state trust lands in Colorado this season,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife Director Dan Prenzlow said. “Hunters and anglers are a critical foundation to wildlife conservation. They make significant contributions to our local economy, especially rural economies.”
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