Last fall, Colorado state agencies opened 100,000 acres of Colorado state trust land to hunters and anglers to kick off the 2019 hunting season.
In 2020 we are looking forward to gaining public access to an additional 200,000 acres of Colorado state trust land for hunting and fishing under a program managed by Colorado state agencies. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and the Colorado State Land Board have nominated state trust land properties that they are considering for addition to the Public Access Program, which would mean the public could hunt and/or fish on some of these properties as soon as the 2020 hunting season. For scale, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge near Denver is about 16,000 acres in total, so the 2020 state trust land expansion will be equal to about 12.5 times that area, though the state trust lands to be opened for walk-in access are spread out across Eastern Colorado.
To see the map with state trust land properties under consideration for public hunting and fishing access, visit the recreation page on the Colorado State Land Board website or this web map link. Let us know what you think on the Colorado Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers’ Facebook page or website!
To learn more about state trust land history, the policies that control recreational access to Colorado state trust land, and recommendations for improving access to Colorado state trust land, check out Colorado BHA's 2019 Colorado State Trust Land Access Report
If you’re considering hunting or fishing on Colorado state trust land, please consider the following!
Access is limited to hunting season months in many cases. Most state trust land properties listed under the Public Access Program are open to the public for wildlife-related recreation only from September 1st through the end of February, unless otherwise specified in the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Colorado State Recreation Lands.
Different rules may apply to different properties. Always visit the CPW State Trust Lands page and look at the State Recreation Lands brochure to look at specific property permissions and restrictions before you go to a property to recreate.
These properties are simultaneously leased for other purposes so please be respectful of other land users who have leases in place allowing them to use state trust land for other kinds of activities. For example, there may be cattle on these properties so please use public access points, always close gates behind you, park in designated areas, and be careful to avoid livestock.
Around 30 Colorado state trust land properties are open for fishing year-round. The easiest way to find which Colorado state trust land properties allow fishing is to go to CPW’s Colorado State Recreation Lands brochure, then to the “State Trust Lands (STLs) Public Access Program” section.
Furthermore, the BLM announced in December 2019 its intent to transfer 17,700 acres of federal surface and federal mineral ownership to the Colorado State Land Board to be converted into Colorado state trust land. This is land that the public currently has access to as BLM land. If transferred to the Colorado State Land Board, it would be managed the same way that other Colorado state trust land is, i.e. no public access unless an established lease agreement is in place that permits access for specified activities (like the one that established the Public Access Program). The public scoping comment period was open only from December 2 through December 23, 2019. The BLM will conduct an Environmental Assessment next, and the public should be allowed to comment on the Environmental Assessment in the spring of 2020. Stay tuned, and for more information check out the resources listed below:
- State Indemnity Lands Environmental Assessment