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Colorado Parks and Wildlife to discuss budget issues at meetings in southwest Colorado

CPW News Release
GUNNISON, Colo. – Colorado Parks and Wildlife is facing a budget shortfall and the agency is holding public meetings throughout the Southwest Region to discuss the issue with hunters and anglers.

Here is the schedule for the meetings:
Gunnison: Aug. 2, 6:30 p.m. Colorado Parks and Wildlife office, 300 W. New York Ave.
San Luis Valley: Aug. 3, 6:30 p.m., Hampton Inn, 719 Mariposa, Alamosa
Durango area: Aug. 9, 6:30 p.m., Bayfield Public Library, 395 Bayfield Center Drive
Montrose: Aug. 16, 6:30 P.M., Colorado Parks and wildlife office, 2300 S. Townsend Ave. (U.S. Highway 550).
The budget shortfall has been affecting the wildlife section of the agency for several years. Demands are growing for wildlife and habitat management as the human population in Colorado increases. In addition, overall costs for the agency are rising ― everything from hatchery fish food to water leases, explained Southwest Regional Manager Patt Dorsey.

"Colorado hunters and anglers care deeply about wildlife resources in the state and CPW works around-the-clock to maintain and improve those resources," Dorsey said. "To maintain effective management and services, Colorado Parks and Wildlife needs to increase its revenue."

CPW is managed as an "enterprise agency", which means it does not receive any general sales tax dollars from Colorado taxpayers. The majority of the agency’s revenue comes from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses it also receives grants from Great Outdoors Colorado and from federal excise taxes levied on the sale of hunting and fishing equipment. In the past six years, CPW has cut $40 million from its budget and eliminated 50 positions.

Funds for the wildlife section and the parks section are completely separate there is no co-mingling of revenues or expenditures.

At the meetings CPW staff will explain the financial issues facing the agency, and talk about the need to raise prices for resident hunting and fishing licenses. The last time CPW raised license prices was 2005. A license fee increase must be approved by the Colorado State Legislature.

For reference, a license for a Colorado resident elk hunter costs $46, while a non-resident elk license cost $649. Non-resident hunting fees are adjusted every year according to the consumer price index.

"As sportsmen and sportswomen of Colorado you have always been willing to pay for the privilege to hunt and fish in Colorado. We want to discuss this important issue with you," Dorsey said.
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