State to grow Public Access Program by 100,000 acres in time for hunting season |

State to grow Public Access Program by 100,000 acres in time for hunting season

Sky-Hi News staff report
Colorado Parks and Wildlife has announced a major expansion of the state's Public Access Program.
Crystal Egli / Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

A multi-year expansion of the Public Access Program recently approved by Colorado Parks and Wildlife will add up to 100,000 acres ahead of the fall hunting season, according to the agency. 

The Public Access Program provides limited, seasonal hunting and fishing opportunities on Colorado trust lands across the state. 

“I congratulate the Parks and Wildlife Commission and the State Land Board for expanding access to Colorado state lands,” said Dan Gibbs, executive director of the Department of Natural Resources, in a statement. “The expansion of the Public Access Program passed by CPW (on Thursday) and the State Land Board earlier this month will grow the program by more than 20% to 585,000 acres over the next year.”  

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission’s Thursday vote is the first step in a multi-year effort to double the size of the Public Access Program from 480,000 acres to almost a million acres, which would be the first major expansion of the program since it began in 1993.

The new lands to be enrolled in the Public Access Program will be announced in August. Trust lands enrolled in the Public Access Program are open to a variety of wildlife-related activities, but hunting and fishing remain the primary ones.

The program currently includes 480,000 acres, the majority of which is located in Northwestern Colorado, prime land for big game hunting. The agency also said CPW will enroll lands in the plains of Eastern Colorado as well, where bird hunting and small game hunting is popular, to provide a broader array of opportunities on trust lands.

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