Parks and Wildlife still a long way from completion

Chiropractor and elk-lover extraordinaire Terry Sweet of Grand Junction recently is one of teh newest members of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s Board of Directors. He received the honor during the national RMEF convention in Las Vegas.



Gee, and you thought action Thursday in Denver would bring us the new Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

So did I.

After a day refreshingly free of head-butting and wrangling, action by the Hydra-headed Parks and Wildlife commission resulted in a sort-of new Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Mostly, though, it’s the same old Colorado Parks and Wildlife envisioned but not completed last July when this wannabe conflation of wildlife management and recreation resources was announced by legislative fiat.

Thursday’s meeting of the Parks and Wildlife commission did result in several positive achievements, including a letter of permission to Parks and Wildlife Director Rick Cables to start organizing the two agencies into a whole.

Or a hole, depending on what our inestimable friends in the state legislature eventually decide to do.

The implementation plan passed this week by the commission is merely an outline, with which Cables will sculpt the shape of the future agency.

It’s an immense responsibility, if for no other reason than the two agencies combined have some 880 employees, all of whom are waiting for that next shoe to drop.

At one time, some pie-in-the-sky types were touting a July 1, 2012, merger deadline, but that’s about as likely as your winning Saturday night’s Powerball lottery.

Integrating these two programs, with their different missions, different emphases and different reasons for being isn’t getting easier, no matter how close to the end we may be getting.

Heaven’s sake, there still has to be decided what the uniforms will look like, although word from the fashion police says different uniforms will prevent us from needing a program to tell the players apart.

Other concerns include the leadership teams, and word from the inner offices is Cables is leaning toward a four region setup (Northwest, Southwest, Northeast, Southeast) familiar to many Division of Wildlife followers.

Parks currently has three divisions, which certainly means changes in that hierarchy.

Will there be four regional managers, each with two assistants, one for parks and one for wildlife? No one knows, and right now Cables isn’t saying.

“The people we have in place and their experience levels will help us determine how quickly some functions are phased in,” Cables said in a press release Friday. “Some things may be done sooner and some may take longer.”

As for the Parks and Wildlife commission itself, which has been proposed to be cut back from the present 16 members to a more manageable 11 (nine voting and two non-voting members), any changes have to be approved by the legislature, which oversees the commission’s mission and makeup.

The head makeup artists are Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, and Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass, chairs respectively of the House and Senate Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources committees, and it is into their hands the decision will fall.

One proposal seen recently has the commission weighted toward the agriculture interests, with conservation groups/public at large, which several years ago fought hard for better representation, apparently losing a seat or two.

And we thought the end was near. As they say on Facebook: LOL.

Terry Sweet takes well-deserved RMEF seat: Grand Junction chiropractor and elk-lover extraordinaire Terry Sweet, who for more than two decades has led the local chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, recently was selected to the RMEF board of directors.

Sweet has chaired the Elk Foundation’s Grand Junction Chapter for 23 years and has raised for the local and national RMEF more than $2 million in that time.

An Elk Foundation life member and Habitat Partner, Sweet received in 2011 the Foundation’s highest honor, the Wallace Fennell Pate Wildlife Conservation Award.

The award recognizes “contributions of lasting significance,” the RMEF said.


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