Colorado DOW and State Parks Merger Raises Concerns

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A few weeks ago we mentioned that the Colorado DOW and State Parks may be merged in order to cut costs. However from the discussions on the forum and in the blog thread it appears that some hunters definitely have some reservations about the proposed merger. If you're concerned you're not alone, according to the Coloradoan sportsmen's groups are raising concerns with the merger.

Conservation groups have a litany of concerns and objections to the proposed merger, most concerning the impact it will have on wildlife management in Colorado and how hunters' and anglers' license fees are spent. "It's going to be a very complicated process to avoid diversion and also to ensure the increasingly complicated wildlife management work is not compromised through this merger," said Suzanne O'Neill, executive director of the Colorado Wildlife Federation.

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WishIWasHunting's picture

Also

"Without ironing out many of the specifics regarding how the combined agency would operate, a bipartisan bill codifying the merger is expected to be introduced in the state House and Senate as soon as this week."

It is good to know that this was a well thought out, thoroughly researched, well-conceived plan (laced heavily with sarcasm). 

I had not read about the enterprise status situation before.  At least now I know one of the main motivations for this action is to run the old end-around to get past TABOR.  I hope I am wrong, but I just do not see this working out well for sportsmen or taxpayers of Colorado.

hunter25's picture

I had actually hoped this

I had actually hoped this would all turnin to a positive thing as others have said that many states already do this. But the more I read the more nervous I get. Our parks are always short of funds and have threatened to close many of them for years. The pass fees are 60 something a year and around 8 dollars a day now, plus they get funds from lottery sales and still they need way more. In the last 10 years I have seen the number of employees at the parks and the amount of improvements run wild at least on this side of the mountain. The way I see it they are going to try to divert even more of the money to these things and away from wildlife.

And as far as TABOR -tax payers bill of rights-They either find ways around it or put the new tax on the ballot and everybody happily votes yes for the new cause. We are taxed very heavily on everything.

 

WishIWasHunting's picture

"Closing" state parks

I have never understood the idea of "closing" a state park.  Reduce or eliminate capital projects, services, and maintenance in parks that do not cashflow.  At the heart of it, the Colorado state parks are a public resource held in trust for the public's benefit.  I do not mind paying daily park fees so long as that money is going back to the parks.  Also, I do not expect/require maintened trails, restrooms, vistor's centers, etc. pervasively throughout all state parks.  If you want/require more services in your "natural" experience, limit yourself to the locations that meet your needs.

groovy mike's picture

Good luck Colorado! You might need it!

I don’t envy you or anyone else dealing with the challenges of merging bureaucracies.       

It is something that is being considered everywhere.  Here in New York State agencies that were split out into separate departments twenty years ago are now being considered for return to a single agency as a cost cutting measure in state government.  Even those of us who took a stable career path no longer feel entirely safe with our job security.  Our Department of Environmental Conservation (that’s our state’s version of the Department of Wildlife) has cut its work force by 200 people, that’s more than 20 percent.  The Director told the Governor that if he insisted on more lay offs, that the Department of Environmental Conservation  would be unable to continue its core functions of enforcing state regulations.  That Director is now unemployed and the lay offs took place anyway.            

Good luck Colorado!  You might need it!

jaybe's picture

"Move ahead with the merger

"Move ahead with the merger and work out the details later"? That sure sounds a lot like, "We have to pass the bill to find out what's in the bill" to me.

Wow! I feel for the hunters and fishermen of Colorado if this is the attitude of those making these decisions there. As I stated a few weeks ago when this subject came up, a merger like this is bound to have a negative impact on the fish and game side of the equation. Hunters and fishermen are going to be paying for hiking trails, petting parks, building and grounds upkeep and so forth. Their money will not be directed to improving the habitat and health of the fish and game that they love to pursue.

IMO those who attend the parks should pay for the maintenance and improvement of the parks through an annual sticker or daily fee. Leave the hunters and fishermen's license fees alone.