Ranching for Wildlife Program Review
The Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) has established a committee to assess and improve the Ranching for Wildlife (RFW) program. The committee first met in mid-March, where guidelines and a timeline for the review process were set. The next meeting will take place March 28 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 29 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Holiday Inn in Frisco.
“We haven’t thoroughly reviewed the program in about 10 years, and given that concerns have been raised by the public and the Wildlife Commission about some aspects of this program, we thought it was time to take another look at it,” said Tom Remington, terrestrial section chief for the DOW and project coordinator for this effort. “This program has been very successful in the past, and we all want to make sure it continues to be in the future.”
The RFW program was initiated in 1985 by the Colorado Wildlife Commission. It provides incentives in the form of flexibility in season dates and guaranteed licenses to large landowners who agree to allow public access and improve their habitat for wildlife. The program has opened more than a million acres of private wildlife habitat to public hunting.
DOW Director Bruce McCloskey appointed a committee of 17 stakeholders, including sportsmen, representatives from some participating ranches, neighbors of participating ranches, representatives from agricultural groups impacted by the RFW program, and DOW employees who are involved with the program. The committee is charged with conducting a top-to-bottom review of the program. Once the review is completed, the committee will make recommendations to the DOW on how the program could be improved and strengthened.
The committee will meet every three to four weeks and make draft recommendations to the DOW in mid-June. The recommendations will be reviewed and presented to the Wildlife Commission in July as a draft. Final recommendations will be presented in September. The next meeting is March 28-29 in Frisco (see Web site below for details).
The Ranching for Wildlife committee meetings are open to the public, though the public is asked to listen until the end of the meeting. At the end of the day, time will be provided for public input. The public also is welcome to provide input via: e-mail to the project coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on the Web site; in letters to the Wildlife Commission; to committee representatives; or by attending the Wildlife Commission meetings in July or September.