Gov. Jared Polis speaks at a Golden Gate State Park signing ceremony for Senate Bill 21-249, on June 21, 2021. (Screenshot/Governor Jared Polis YouTube)
Starting sometime in 2023, Coloradans registering their cars, motorcycles, lightweight trucks and sport utility vehicles can purchase an annual state parks pass for a $40 discount.
“This new funding opportunity will help our agency strengthen and maintain our growing state park system, as well as dedicate more funding to our growing wildlife conservation work and programs,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife Director Dan Prenzlow said in a Monday statement from Polis’ office. “As our population continues to grow and our expectations expand, we are grateful that Colorado residents continuously want to serve as stewards for our lands and wildlife and want to find new ways to balance their outdoor recreation with mindful conservation.”
For most people, the Keep Colorado Wild pass will reduce the price of annual state parks access to $40 from $80. Fee revenue from the new passes will go toward providing more affordable access to state parks and public lands; as well as for the management of state parks, search and rescue teams and avalanche safety, wildlife conservation, equity and diversity efforts, and public lands projects in partnership with local communities.
SB-249’s sponsors include Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, a Boulder Democrat, and Sen. Kerry Donovan, a Vail Democrat, along with Reps. Perry Will, a New Castle Republican, and Kerry Tipper, a Democrat from Lakewood.
“As we emerge from the pandemic and continue to encourage folks to swap out their screens and their Zoom meetings for in-person activities with friends and family, we should boast Colorado state parks and public lands as the destination,” Fenberg said at the signing ceremony at Golden Gate State Park.
Also on Monday, Polis signed House Bill 21-1318, which creates an outdoor equity grant program. Grant funds will go toward increasing access to outdoor recreation for low-income children and young adults who are Black, Indigenous or people of color; and those who are lesbian, gay or transgender.
A third bill, House Bill 21-1326, sends state stimulus money to programs in the Department of Natural Resources. The biggest sum — $17.5 million — goes to the parks and outdoor recreation cash fund for staffing, maintaining, developing and improving state parks.
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