New agency seeks input on merger of parks, wildlife

Now that the merger between the Division of Wildlife and the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation has been completed, the newly minted Division of Parks and Wildlife wants to know what you think about it.

Hmmm. Better late than never, one supposes.

Actually, the agency really doesn’t care what you think about the merger, since that political tail has already started wagging the dog.

Rather, the question before you now is, what can the agency do to be “more efficient and effective,” to quote a recent DPW press release.

During the recent inaugural meeting of the new DPW board — an awkward amalgam of the former wildlife commission and the former parks board — Kim Burgess, the CEO of the Department of Natural Resources (who knew that department needed a CEO in addition to Mike King, the current director?) said the DNR is seeking public input toward developing “a unified agency mission, the composition of the permanent parks and wildlife commission, achieving full consolidation of the two divisions and other suggestions for making the new agency more efficient and effective.”

One would think topics such as these might have been considered prior to putting the once-separate wildlife and parks into a mixing and bowl and turning on the beaters.

According to Tim Glenn, the Chaffee County commissioner elected to head the new DPW commission, it was the Legislature that failed to rein in the way the new agency is going to conduct itself.

“The legislature gave us specific subjects to make recommendation on, but that doesn’t preclude the public giving us their thoughts on other issues as well,” said Glenn, who unlike other politicians, has turned into an excellent wildlife commissioner.

“If it’s something that will help this agency do its job better, we’d like to hear about it.”

The deadline for comments is July 29, which doesn’t give you a lot of time to get your thoughts together, but this show has to go on and you can be on the bus or under it.

King told the new DPW board one of the benefits of the merger is the opportunity to build a broader and more robust constituency for natural resources in Colorado.

It might be the only benefit, as far as this corner is concerned.

“As director of DNR, one thing I worry about is 30 years from now citizens making decisions on natural resources without understanding things like where water comes from or where energy comes from,” King said.

“That’s a huge risk. The merger of parks and wildlife will help us keep this from happening by using outdoor recreation as a tool to make those connections clear in peoples’ minds.”

Apparently someone is afraid of history repeating itself.

Even though wildlife and parks once were one and then 40 years ago separated and then miraculously came together again, nothing has ever stopped inordinately powerful individuals from making self-centered decisions on how to manage this state’s natural resources.

And as long this state’s natural resource agency answers to an overweening Legislature whose main concern is getting itself re-elected every two years, nothing is going to change.

Of course, this state’s wildlife/parks agency isn’t alone in that arena.

Information and timelines are available on the DNR website, dnr.state.co.us. Click on “DPW Transition.”

“The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” — Plato.

New waterfowl blinds in the Grand Valley: If you’ve ever struggled finding a place to hunt waterfowl in the Grand Valley, there’s some good news.

The DPW commission approved several new public waterfowl hunting opportunities, including a blind at Island Acres State Park, more access to DPW land, a blind at Corn Lake and maybe yet another at the Fruita section of the James M. Robb/Colorado River State Park.

According to the agency, some of the blinds will be open this fall and all will be available through a reservation system, details of which are still being worked out.

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