In an announcement made late Friday, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission said that it decided on April 30 that “A valid hunting or fishing license will be required for everyone 18 or older attempting to access any State Wildlife Area or State Trust Land leased by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, beginning July 1.”
According to the announcement, the decision to require a hunting or fishing license for entering a SWA is because “state wildlife areas are acquired with hunter and angler dollars, and are intended specifically to provide wildlife habitat and wildlife-related recreation.” CPW Southeast Regional Manager Brett Ackerman told the commission. “This rule is aimed at curtailing non-wildlife-related use of these properties.”
The news release, available here, lays out the CPW argument that the new requirement is due to people misbehaving: setting up residence (squatting), unauthorized vehicle use and vandalism.
While many of Colorado SWA’s and State Trust Lands don’t have recreational use other than hunting or fishing, Dome Rock State Wildlife Area near Divide is notable for it’s hiking opportunities, whether as a big loop hike, or a long hike to a really nice overlook, or as a great place to see fall colors. It also is directly adjacent to Mueller State Park, where users have to purchase a pass to enter, and there are official trails that cross over the boundary lines between the properties.
A sign on the Dome Rock trail seems to indicate that the property was bought by the Nature Conservancy, but it’s unclear if any hunting or fishing license money was also used to purchase the land.
All of this begs the question as to whether the hunting and fishing license requirement will apply to Dome Rock, although the new rule clearly does say it applies to “all” SWA’s. Additionally, if you purchase a pass for Mueller State Park, will you still need a hunting for fishing license if you hike on a trail that crosses into Dome Rock? An attempt to get clarification from the CPW SE Region Office on Friday was unsuccessful, although more information was promised for Monday. We’ll update when we hear more.
Be Good. Do Good Things. Play By the Rules.
Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, business owner and author of Hiking Bob’s Tips, Tricks and Trails, available via his website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for almost 28 years. Follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (@hikingguide), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website (Hikingbob.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob: firstname.lastname@example.org.