State Will Require Hikers to Buy a Hunting or Fishing Licences to Access Certain Public Lands

Many state-run lands are paid for by money raised from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, but accessible by all people. In other words, hunters and anglers pay for the land and the right to recreate on it while others, such as hikers, campers, and wildlife watchers do not. One state has seen this as unfair and has devised a way so everyone pays an equal amount.

According to Colorado Springs Indy, all visitors to Colorado State Wildlife Areas (SWAs) will be required to possess either a valid hunting or fishing license starting on 1 July 2020.

Colorado tried to institute a habitat stamp access program back in 2006 to alleviate the unfairness, but it created a funding issue with how the state received money via the Pittman-Robertson Act. The law saw the requirement to buy the stamp as an entrance fee, which means any money collected from the stamp would be deducted from any Pittman-Robertson Funding.

So to keep the funding the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department had to make the purchase of stamps voluntary and not mandatory. It turns out that very few non-hunters and anglers purchased the stamp, so once again hunters and anglers were left footing the bill of everyone’s access to these areas.

So, in an effort to make sure everyone pays equally to use SWAs, CPW will be requiring all users to purchase a hunting or fishing license, effective July 1. 

The least expensive option for Colorado residents would be to purchase a single day fishing license, for $13.90 per day, and the required Habitat Stamp for $10.13 per year. A yearly fishing license can be purchased for $35.17, however senior citizens (over age 65) can get the annual license for $9.85 and are also exempt from the Habitat Stamp requirement.

Hunters and anglers pay for a vast majority of conservation projects around the country. It is about time other user pitch in and help pay for the land on which they recreate.