Increase outdoor recreational usage

Why is this important to Colorado?

Colorado offers numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation and serves a growing and diverse population of people with varied demands for recreational activities.  Outdoor recreation at state parks, as well as hunting and fishing opportunities, contribute a combined estimated $1.5 billion to the Colorado economy.  As increasing numbers of tourists and Coloradans take advantage of the state’s outdoor resources, care must be taken to maintain the beauty and accessibility of state parks and the activities therein.  In addition, with Colorado’s population projected to grow to almost 8 million people by 2040, Colorado must work to identify, protect, or create new outdoor recreational opportunities.  Developing new and maintaining existing opportunities managed by the state depends in large part on funding from user fees since Colorado Parks and Wildlife does not receive any General Funds to support parks.

How do we measure success?

  • Increase State Park visits.  In June 2017, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) counted 14.8 million vehicle visits to Colorado’s state parks over the previous 12 months.  This was a nearly 10% increase over the prior fiscal year.  Based on the last five years, CPW expects 12.8 million state park visitors in FY 2017-18.
  • Maintain the number of hunting and fishing participants due to a variety of favorable outside factors including weather and healthy herd numbers. CPW experienced increased participation in 2016 and 2017.


Status Outcome Measure 2015 Outcome Baseline 2016 Actual 2017 Actual 2018 Actual 2018 Outcome Target

On Track.png

State park visits 12,272,000 13,515,490 14,823,913 15,321,417 12,856,071
On Track.png Hunting and fishing participants 960,000 1,066,536 1,100,609 1,111,615 960,000

Source: Colorado Department of Natural Resources

What actions are we taking?

  • CPW is developing easy access to state park information and resources, including improving the website via the Integrated Parks and Wildlife System (IPAWS) to provide a one-stop shop for outdoor recreational use and opportunities in Colorado, including hunting and fishing licenses, campground fees and reservations, and other services.
  • CPW is improving visitor facilities in the 42 state parks, as well as offering free access to veterans during the month of August.
  • In collaboration with the sportsman community, CPW is developing fishing and hunting-targeted marketing campaigns, is offering training programs to increase access and entry into the sports, and improving hunting and fishing information and map distribution.