Parks and Wildlife board schedules inaugural meeting

The newly merged Colorado Parks and Wildlife Board will hold its first meeting in Denver this week.

The board was created when a new law went into effect last week to combine the state’s Division of Wildlife and the Colorado State Parks into a single agency.

As a result, the 11-member Colorado Wildlife Commission and the five-member Colorado State Parks Board were combined into a single 16-member board to oversee joining the rest of the two agencies, which are divisions of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources.

The merger, which stemmed from a proposal by Gov. John Hickenlooper to save taxpayers’ money, is to take place gradually over the next few years. The purpose of the first meeting is to lay out a timeline for how that will be achieved.

The new board will welcome Rick Cables as the new division’s director. Cables, who was named to the job last month, comes to the state after ending a 35-year career with the U.S. Forest Service.

After that, the new board won’t waste any time getting to work. It is to consider several regulatory changes, including taking final action of small-game regulations such as the elimination of the additional permit required to hunt greater prairie chickens, expanding that hunting season on the eastern plains and changing hunting units on the Western Slope for the greater sage grouse.

The board also will set new hunting dates on migratory birds and designate waterfowl hunting zones for the next four years.

The board is scheduled to vote on improving waterfowl hunting access at the James M. Robb Colorado River State Park in Mesa County and Highline State Park north of Mack, which would be restricted to designated blinds with reservations required.

The panel also will consider increasing from three birds to four the dark geese bag limit on Colorado’s portion of the Pacific flyway along the western edge of the Western Slope.

The board will consider a citizen’s petition to allow bow fishing for kokanee salmon during snagging season.

Though this week’s meeting is scheduled to be in the former DOW’s main office at 6060 Broadway Ave. in Denver, the new board will hold regular monthly meetings around the state as it discusses merging the two agencies.


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