Licence Now Required To Hike Colorado State Wildlife Areas
Sorry, you can't just go stretch your legs out there anymore.
If you were intending to explore Colorado’s designated state wildlife areas, you will be required to have hunting or fishing licenses.
Now why would they make you do that?
The state manages those areas funded by the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses. The money is spent on conserving habitats and wildlife-related recreation.
So why a hunting and fishing licence when someone just wants to hike? The answer to that comes back to state law that requires Colorado Parks and Wildlife to separate its funding sources. That means it has to be different for both wildlife areas and state parks. The parks are funded by park passes.
There are more than 350 wildlife areas in the state. You could get a pass or risk going without one. Fines for hiking in a SWA without a license are set at $100 plus a $39.50 surcharge.
To keep track of where you will need a hunting licence to hike, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has an interactive map on its website that lists SWAs and their intended uses.
Just an opinion here - what will probably rub hikers the wrong way is, first off, having to buy "a licence." Next, buying a licence for something that they are not doing.
This is one of those cases where, if the state needs money to maintain the area, they should think of a better way of collecting it.