DENVER — Tuesday, Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced the locations of newly available properties enrolled in the Public Access Program.
The Public Access Program provides seasonal hunting and fishing opportunities on state trust land across Colorado. The new properties will be open to the public starting September 1st.
The newly enrolled lands into the program are:
- Blue Lake - 41,564 acres - Arlington, CO (Southeast Colorado)
- Queens - 9,020 acres - Eads, CO (Southeast Colorado)
- Pawnee Valley - 2,720 acres - Sterling, CO (Northeast Colorado)
- Brett Gray Ranch - 23,878 acres - Rush, CO (Open September 1 for dove hunting.)
CPW said they also expect that additional hunting will be available later this fall.
You can locate lands enrolled in the Public Access Program using the Colorado Hunting Atlas.
The expansion of the Public Access Program was approved in July of this year by the Parks and Wildlife Commission and the State Land Board. The expansion is part of a multi-year effort to double the size of the Public Access Program from 480,000 acres to up to 1 million acres, according to CPW.
The agency said this is the first expansion of the program since it began in 1993.
Prior to this expansion, the majority of state trust land was located in the northwestern part of the state, where there is excellent big game hunting. CPW said they are trying to provide a broader array of hunting opportunities on state trust lands by expanding the program in Eastern Colorado where bird and small game hunting is prevalent. Much of the newly enrolled land is located in Southeastern Colorado.
According to CPW, the Public Access Program is a lease agreement between the State Land Board and CPW. The wildlife agency will fund the new acreage enrolled in the program through hunting and fishing license fee increases approved by the General Assembly in 2018 in the "Future Generations Act." CPW said state trust lands have earned $1.4 billion for Colorado public schools in the past decade and have been the primary funding source for the Department of Education's Building Excellent Schools Today program.
“Hunters and anglers are a critical foundation to wildlife conservation,” said Dan Prenzlow, CPW director. “They make significant contributions to our local economy, especially rural economies. It’s an added benefit that our Public Access Program helps fund Colorado school kids.”
“I’m glad that hunters and anglers will have more access to state trust lands in Colorado this season, and I’m grateful for the cooperation we’ve gotten from the ranchers and farmers who already lease these properties for agriculture,” said Greg Ochis, State Land Board Assistant Director. “These leasing activities stimulate the local economies and also help generate money for Colorado school kids.”
State trust lands enrolled in the Public Access Program are open to a variety of wildlife related uses, but most are also working ranches leased for agriculture. CPW said hunters are expected to respect the existing agriculture operations. The public must follow the rules and regulations at each property. Unauthorized activity on the lands is subject to enforcement and users are responsible for knowing the rules and regulations for each property.
CPW said they will announce the locations of additional properties that will be enrolled in the program in 2020.