80% OF COLORADO STATE TRUST LAND HAS NO PUBLIC ACCESS

Q2 / 2019 - Conservation Partner: Backcountry Hunters & Anglers

Colorado State Trust Lands aren't Open To public Access
80% of Colorado State Trust Lands Aren't Open To Public Access

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HOW CAN YOU HELP?

With basin + bend, contributing to conservation is easy! That's because we leverage commerce for conservation. By simply purchasing your favorite hunting and fishing gear from basin + bend (at the same price you would at any other retailer) you'll be supporting this partner and provide much needed funds to the project. Instead of donating an unknown "portion of the profits" to a conservation effort, we show you exactly how much is going to be donated to this specific project.

ABOUT THE CONSERVATION PARTNER:

It all starts with access: Backcountry Hunters & Anglers provides a unique voice for sportsmen and women who value conservation and the future of our heritage and family traditions. We represent the challenge, solitude and adventure that only the backcountry can provide, and we are working hard with boots on the ground at all levels to ensure that our roadless areas and backcountry are protected for the fish and wildlife that thrive there.

Not all of our public lands are accessible, however, and we are working to advance administrative and legislative solutions at the state and national levels – solutions that facilitate collaboration among stakeholders to open access to landlocked public lands and secure stewardship opportunities for those landscapes so that hunters and anglers can continue to be America's conservation leaders.

As sportsmen, our power and influence to conserve what we love lies in our numbers. When we speak up to Congress, land management agencies and in stakeholder coalitions, we stand with all our members behind us. With your help, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers will continue to grow as a force for sustaining wild lands, wildlife, native fisheries and the kind of authentic backcountry experience we are determined to pass on to future generations.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers' Mission: Backcountry Hunters & Anglers seeks to ensure North America's outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting, through education and work on behalf of wild public lands and waters.

OVERVIEW OF THE ISSUE:

The state of Colorado currently provides public hunting and fishing access on a mere 20 percent of its state trust lands, or approximately 500,000 of 3 million acres. This represents the lowest level of public access offered on state trust land in any state in the West.

Of the other 80 percent, much of the best hunting and fishing is leased to the highest bidder for exclusive recreational access, locking out most sportsmen. Contrast this with our federal public lands, nearly all of which are open to any sportsman with a valid license and a passion for adventure.

As hunting and fishing access is increasingly controlled by the wealthy and well-connected, public access only becomes more important. Lack of public access is the No. 1 reason hunters cite for giving up their sporting traditions. We can help reverse this trend by working to ensure that those of us who hunt and fish always have a place to recreate. 

colorado state trust land no public access
Colorado State Trust Land - No public access

What is Backcountry Hunters & Anglers doing to gain public access?

We typically lean towards funding conservation projects that have a direct on-the-ground impact. In this case, it is policy development that will have a large on-the-ground access impact down the road. By increasing the number of recreational leases that CPW is able to obtain, hunters will have more access to their state-owned public lands.

BHA is working with a coalition of other sportsmen’s organizations to advance state legislation that would require the state land board to work more cooperatively with CPW to better serve the growing public interest for improved public access on state trust lands.

Is Colorado State Trust Land Open To Public Access?

No. Unlike other types of publicly owned land, state trust land was set aside for the specific purpose of providing financial support for various public institutions, primarily K-12 public education.  The Colorado State Land Board raises revenue by leasing these properties to public and private parties. Because state trust land is held in trust and leased to generate revenue, it is not open for general public use.

While every other Western state provides public access to the majority of state trust lands with legal public access (via public road or adjacent to public land), Colorado currently provides access to only about 20 percent (500,000 acres) of its lands. Of the remaining 80 percent, private outfitters, clubs and individuals control recreational access on 5 percent. Recreational access on the remaining 75 percent is controlled by those who lease the state trust lands for other purposes, such as agriculture and energy production. Note that these lease holders are not paying for the exclusive recreational access they currently enjoy.

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No. Unlike other types of publicly owned land, state trust land was set aside for the specific purpose of providing financial support for various public institutions, primarily K-12 public education.  The Colorado State Land Board raises revenue by leasing these properties to public and private parties. Because state trust land is held in trust and leased to generate revenue, it is not open for general public use.

While every other Western state provides public access to the majority of state trust lands with legal public access (via public road or adjacent to public land), Colorado currently provides access to only about 20 percent (500,000 acres) of its lands. Of the remaining 80 percent, private outfitters, clubs and individuals control recreational access on 5 percent. Recreational access on the remaining 75 percent is controlled by those who lease the state trust lands for other purposes, such as agriculture and energy production. Note that these lease holders are not paying for the exclusive recreational access they currently enjoy.

CAN I HUNT AND FISH ON COLORADO STATE TRUST LANDS?

No. Not unless there is a recreational lease for the land through CPW and the Public Access Program (PAP). Signs located at each property provide greater detail on rules and regulations.

Sportsmen’s license fees are currently used to lease the 500,000 acres of state trust lands that are currently open to the public at a rate of $1.76/acre. CPW pays the state land board for this recreational access, which is mainly limited to the hunting season and does not include other recreational activities like camping, biking or hiking outside of set hunting season dates.

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No. Not unless there is a recreational lease for the land through CPW and the Public Access Program (PAP). Signs located at each property provide greater detail on rules and regulations.

Sportsmen’s license fees are currently used to lease the 500,000 acres of state trust lands that are currently open to the public at a rate of $1.76/acre. CPW pays the state land board for this recreational access, which is mainly limited to the hunting season and does not include other recreational activities like camping, biking or hiking outside of set hunting season dates.

How do I know what lands are leased by CPW for public access?

You can look up every parcel of state trust land, as well as what it is leased for, on the state land board’s website here!

To turn on the public access layer, go to “SLB Special Management Areas” and check “Public Access Program.” To see what lands are leased privately for recreation, go to “Other Surface Leases” and check “Recreation.” The remaining lands are currently not leased for recreation.

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You can look up every parcel of state trust land, as well as what it is leased for, on the state land board’s website here!

To turn on the public access layer, go to “SLB Special Management Areas” and check “Public Access Program.” To see what lands are leased privately for recreation, go to “Other Surface Leases” and check “Recreation.” The remaining lands are currently not leased for recreation.

Is the state required to maximize revenue from state trust lands?

No. The constitution requires the state land board to generate “reasonable and consistent” revenue from state trust lands and manage them in a way that does not jeopardize their health or ability to generate revenue for trust beneficiaries (schools, county governments and other agencies).

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No. The constitution requires the state land board to generate “reasonable and consistent” revenue from state trust lands and manage them in a way that does not jeopardize their health or ability to generate revenue for trust beneficiaries (schools, county governments and other agencies).

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