We want your input on State Park fees for people who bike and walk
In the past few months, Bicycle Colorado staff have researched and talked with stakeholders to understand the reasoning behind newly-implemented Colorado state park entrance fees for people who bike, walk and ride horses.
Colorado’s 42 state parks face growing challenges due to unprecedented population growth, urban sprawl, habitat loss and a growing segment of citizens who are not connected to nature and its care.
Compounding these challenges is financial stress: the cost of maintaining our parks is outpacing revenue. Currently, the majority of Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s, or CPW’s, revenue comes from hunting and fishing licenses, State Park passes and permits. Less than one percent of its funding is from state taxes. As a result CPW must find new sources of revenue and/or reduce costs.
That was some of the impetus behind Senate Bill 18-143, or the Future Generations Act, which was signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper in 2018. As part of this act, CPW was directed by the state legislature to expand the user pay model beyond vehicles entering Colorado State Parks. Four state parks have a long standing park pass called an Individual Pass which allows access to those entering a park on foot, bicycle and horseback. These parks are: Colorado State Forest, Eldorado Canyon, Lory, and Arkansas Headwaters State Recreation Area. This was expanded to 16 more properties in January 2019. The additional parks where you’ll now find a $4.00 entrance fee for people on foot, bicycle and horseback are: Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, Barr Lake, Crawford, Colorado State Forest, Eldorado Canyon, Elkhead Reservoir, Harvey Gap, Highline Lake, James M. Robb – Colorado River, Lory, Pearl Lake, Rifle Gap, Rifle Falls, Stagecoach, Steamboat Lake, Sweitzer Lake, Sylvan Lake, Trinidad Lake, Vega and Yampa River.
A person is exempt from the new $4.00 fee if under the age of 16 or if entering a park with a valid motor vehicle annual park pass, which currently is $80 for an affixed annual pass or $120 per year for an annual hangtag pass. Additionally, Colorado Parks and Wildlife offers Centennial Passes for limited-income residents, Aspen Leaf Passes for those 65 and older, Columbine Passes for people with disabilities and passes for State Parks volunteers and those who serve in the military, all of which exempt the pass holder from the $4.00 fee.
As we continue to work with CPW on this issue, we could use your help. What do you think about paying to enter state parks by bicycle or on foot? Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts by taking this brief survey before May 5. You do not need to be a member of Bicycle Colorado to complete this survey.
Feedback from the survey will be shared with Colorado Parks and WIldlife and will inform our efforts to bring this to a favorable resolution. We will also publish the findings to our members and followers.
Want to support us as we continue conversations regarding state park fees in Colorado? Become a member today.
Membership is a simple and easy way to ensure that we can continue to work for you and all other people who bike in Colorado.