The Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) Commission voted unanimously in July to approve a multi-year expansion of public hunting lands made available through the Public Access Program (PAP). The PAP is a lease agreement between the State Land Board and CPW that provides limited, seasonal hunting and fishing opportunities to the public on Colorado trust land across the state.
Currently, the majority of PAP land is located in Northwestern Colorado, where most of the region’s premier big-game hunting occurs. According to the CPW, the first step in the expansion plan will be the addition of 100,000 acres of prime bird and small game habitat in the plains of Eastern Colorado. The expansion, according to Dan Gibbs, Executive Director of the Department of Natural Resources, “will grow the program by more than 20 percent to 585,000 acres over the next year.” This is the first significant expansion of the PAP since its inception in 1993, and is part of a larger multi-year effort to increase the size of the program from 480,000 acres to nearly 1,000,000 acres.
“Colorado is known for our incredible natural beauty, and I’m committed to expanding the public’s access to and enjoyment of our treasured state and federal land. CPW’s [PAP] for sportsmen and women is growing just in time for the upcoming 2019 hunting season. We will continue looking at more opportunities to increase access and help relieve overcrowded areas,” said Gov. Jared Polis.