Sportsmen’s Caucus called to discuss CPW financial sustainability moving forward

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is calling on hunters, anglers, outdoor enthusiasts and anyone who wants a voice in wildlife issues to attend a Southeast Region Sportsmen’s Caucus, scheduled at 6 p.m. on Jan. 23.

The caucus will convene in the auditorium of the Visitor Center at Lake Pueblo State Park, 640 Pueblo Reservoir Road, Pueblo, Colorado. It is expected to end by 8 p.m.

Among a variety of agenda items, one main topic of the caucus question-and-answer session will be the upcoming Colorado General Assembly and a bill the CPW is drafting and expects to have introduced related to the financial stability of the agency.

“Our legislative team will work with legislators on key concepts that will be part of the draft bill we hope to submit,” said Dan Prenzlow, manager of CPW’s Southeast Region. “We are sharing information we gathered during a series of public meetings last summer and fall in caucus meetings statewide.

“Our collaboration with the public generated many comments and ideas we are incorporating in our new bill. By Jan. 23, we hope to share the results of our public outreach with interested sportsmen.”

Dave Roudebush and Willie Kalaskie, Southeast Region delegates to the Statewide Sportsmen’s Roundtable, encourage everyone to attend the caucus. They promise to carry the message from Southeast Region sportsmen to the next statewide Sportsmen’s Roundtable in March.

They said the caucuses are a great opportunity for direct communication with CPW about issues affecting anglers and sportsmen of the region including CPW policies, regulations and resource management. And the meetings give the agency a chance to fully discuss and explain its decisions with the public.

In 2017, a CPW financial sustainability bill passed the Colorado House, but it died in a Senate committee. In that bill, CPW sought to avoid anticipated budget shortfalls by increasing resident license fees. Since 2009, CPW has cut or defunded 50 positions and cut $40 million from its operating budget. CPW fears that additional cuts are inevitable without an increase in revenue.

CPW’s wildlife management programs are funded by user fees, generated primarily by the sale of hunting and fishing licenses. Unlike other state agencies, CPW receives little general fund revenue.

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