Open Colorado’s Unleased State Trust Lands to Public Hunting & Fishing

In recent years, Colorado has made great strides towards expanding the acreage of the state’s trust lands open to public hunt and fishing from 500,000 acres to approximately 975,000 acres. This recent expansion of new public access provides hunters and anglers with access to approximately 35% of the state’s 2.8 million acres of trust lands. Access on another 400,000 acres (approximately 15%) has been auctioned off to the highest bidder for private exclusive recreational use. While some of the remaining 1,425,000 acres of Colorado state trust lands is landlocked, a significant portion remains off limits for any hunting and fishing.  

As the demand for publicly accessible places to hunt and fish continues to explode in Colorado, opening the remaining acreage of state trust lands to public hunting and fishing is one simple way we can help ensure Coloradans of all backgrounds and incomes have an equal opportunity to hunt and fish on the state’s trust lands. BHA is calling on the state’s decision makers to take action and open the remaining unleased state trust lands to hunting and fishing now!  

Join us by signing our petition. 

Why open Colorado’s state trust lands to public hunting and fishing?  

  • Before the recent 500k acre expansion of public access was agreed upon, every existing lease holder was given the opportunity to place an exclusive private lease on the property – most passed on the opportunity, but many put exclusive recreation leases in places, effectively expanding the acreage leased privately by more than 100,000 acres. Everyone has had their chance to keep the public out – why not make the rest open to public hunting and fishing?  
  • Hunting and angling serve as a significant economic driver in rural parts of the state which need it the most.  
  • Every other Western state provides public hunting and fishing access to state trust lands in the state. Only Colorado limits public access at such a large scale, while also promoting a program whereby recreation rights are held by the highest bidder on such a large portion of the state’s lands.  
  • While great strides have been made to make the states’ trust lands more accessible to hunters and anglers of all backgrounds and socioeconomic classes, more than 1 million acres of state lands remains off limits to any public hunting and fishing. Providing residents and nonresidents alike with new hunting and angling opportunity on state trust lands just makes sense.  
  • Hunter and angler crowding on existing publicly accessible lands in Colorado has become an increasingly major issue in the state. Expanding the public acreage available is one simple way to help solve this problem.  

BHA urges the state of Colorado to adopt an “open unless closed” policy to facilitate public hunting and angling access on the remaining 1+ million acres of state trust lands which are currently unleased for recreation. We call on state decision makers to broker an access agreement which provides hunting and angling access to the remaining qualifying acreage of state trust lands, as determined by CPW, for a value commensurate with the quality of the lands available.

I join CO BHA in urging the state’s decision makers to open Colorado’s state trust lands to public hunting and fishing access.

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346 signatures

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