The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel: CPW needs help
Author: The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel Editorial Board - March 1, 2018 - Updated: March 1, 2018
The natural assets managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife generate $6.1 billion in economic activity statewide, but the cash-funded enterprise agency faces tens of millions in budget shortfalls if it can’t raise residential fees and tie them to inflation.
CPW relies on user fees, not general fund appropriations, to cover operations. Resident hunting and fishing license fees haven’t increased since 2006. State park entry fees have not changed since 2010. Yet inflation has increased roughly 30 percent over the last decade. Revenues aren’t keeping up with expenses, creating a backlog of unfunded projects.
The agency has cut 50 positions and reduced $40 million from its wildlife budget since 2009. But the belt-tightening isn’t enough. By 2025, CPW anticipates annual shortfalls of $30 million for wildlife and $11 million for parks.