February 12, 2014
RE: Comments on State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan
CPW Staff & Commission,
Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) would like to thank the department for inviting us to be a part of the advisory group for the State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). The public input and discussion that took place through the advisory group meetings represented a diverse group a recreation interests and as a whole, staff has done an excellent job of ensuring that the document reflects the discussion from this process.
We would like to touch-on two additional items of importance to Colorado BHA:
- Broadening the use of stateside Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) money beyond the development of new trails, to include projects that have a more direct benefit to wildlife and sportsmen.
- Ensuring that the stewardship goal incorporates the maintenance of undeveloped, more primitive forms of recreation.
While federal funding from the Land & Water Conservation Fund continues to go towards securing high-value wildlife habitat and public access points on many public lands throughout in Colorado, over the past five years the state has directed all of the $1.7 million in stateside LWCF funding it has received solely to the development of new trails. This unbalanced funding scheme does not reflect the diversity of recreational priorities outlined in the draft SCORP plan, nor does it reflect CPW’s combined mission. Thus, we urge CPW and DNR to work towards finding a more neutral recipient of stateside LWCF funding and to ensure that at least some of these funds are put towards protection of, and access to, high-value fish and wildlife habitat. We appreciate the fact that CPW has captured this needed change in the draft SCORP document. Moving forward CO BHA would like to help work towards making this needed improvement happen.
We are glad to see that one of the broad, overarching goals within the plan is the need for natural resource stewardship. Within this goal, we feel that it should be made more clear that part of stewardship means that some areas need to be put off limits to developed forms of recreation. Other portions of the plan mention the need to “maximize outdoor recreational opportunities through greater integration of user groups.” While this is a worthy goal in some areas, the SCORP plan should more readily acknowledge that it’s not always possible to ‘integrate’ every user group. Some user groups (such as motorized and non-motorized) need to be separated to maximize the user’s experience, provide ample opportunity for both user groups and to ensure that some areas are managed for the ecological value, solitude and undisturbed habitat they provide. We ask that this be made more apparent in the plan within the stewardship goal.
We again thank CPW for involving Colorado BHA in this process and hope that you’ll consider these final comments on behalf of the organization.
Southern Rockies Coordinator
CC: Mike King