Colorado Parks and Wildlife unveils 5-year master plan

Just a bit more than two years into its existence, the new Colorado Parks and Wildlife continues to refine its strategies for the future.

As part of the 2011 joining of the divisions of Wildlife and Parks and Outdoor Recreation, the Colorado Legislature directed the new agency to prepare a five-year plan to set a strategic direction for the agency.

Also, the Legislature was looking to identify cost savings, efficiencies, and other effects of the merger.
Combining two agencies with separate missions and different public perceptions wasn’t expected to be easy, smooth or quick.

The new five-year plan, titled the “Path Forward,” builds on a foundation of several other planning efforts that Colorado Parks and Wildlife has begun to address everything from big-game management to parks and trails.

Understandably, the process also is drawing heavily on the strategic plans that the two former divisions had in place.

“Colorado’s lands, waters, fish, and wildlife provide great recreational opportunities for millions of people and support local economies around our state,” said Rick Cables, director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “Charting a path forward as a merged agency will help us find synergies in our resource management and recreational activities.”

One facet of the new plan calls for engaging what’s been described as “a wide spectrum of interest groups,” including groups not always part of the wildlife/outdoor recreation decision-making core.

“In the past we had ‘wildlife’ stakeholders and ‘parks’ stakeholders,” Cables said. “Now we’re all working together in new ways to manage Colorado’s natural amenities and recreational resources.”

The agency’s goal of bringing together more of Colorado’s citizens includes holding open-house meetings later this summer to give local residents the opportunity to learn more and share their views.

Additionally, the agency is using the Web and other technological resources to reach out and gather input.
“We encourage anyone with an interest in the management of Colorado’s parks, trails, fish and wildlife to share their views as Coloradans chart the agency’s ‘Path Forward,’ ” Cables said.

Information on the new plan and how to get involved can be found on the CPW website, wildlife.state.co.us.

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