Outdoor recreation plan will lead to grant funds

Colorado’s 42 state parks attract more than 11 million visitors every year, and a new comprehensive statewide plan released last week will help guide state agencies in managing those lands. It also will bring needed additional funds to park coffers.

A wide-ranging group of public and private organizations, representing environmental and sporting groups of every sort, worked with state governmental agencies to craft the five-year Colorado Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan.

In addition to help guiding management of state parks, it will unlock needed conservation grant funds administered by the Colorado State Trails Program.

While the majority of the huge plan is dedicated to administration, a number of notable facts and figures about Colorado recreation and public land use can be found within the document, including:

•  More than 75 percent of Coloradans participate weekly in outdoor recreational activities.

•  A conservative estimate of annual economic activity directly related to outdoor recreation in Colorado is likely $10 billion to $15 billion.

•  While skiing and snowboarding numbers are down across the U.S., Colorado’s 2006-07 numbers show continued growth of about 30,000 more skier visits than in 2005, with more than 12.6 million skier visits total.

•  Off-highway vehicle use, which includes all-terrain vehicles, dirt or dual-purpose motorcycles, snowmobiles and four-wheel-drive vehicles, contributes more than $212 million to Colorado’s economy each year. Off-highway vehicle registrations have increased from nearly 12,000 in 1991 to more than 131,000 in 2007.

•  In 2007, just 30 percent of large-scale Great Outdoors Colorado requests were met with $64 million granted to 16 of the 37 projects that applied, leaving $147 million in unmet needs.


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