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Financial Sustainability
Financial Sustainability
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​A Vision for the Future

CPW employs a user-pays, user-benefits funding model. The fish and wildlife conservation programs, as well as management of recreational​ lands, are primarily funded by hunters, anglers and park visitors through sales ​of hunting and fishing licenses, habitat stamps, and parks passes. Although the two agencies merged in 2011, the budgets for parks and wildlife remain separate.

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CPW's funding is dependent on custome​rs.


Parks Revenue*
Park Revenue​ ​
Parks Expenditures​*
Park Expenses​ ​

Wildlife Revenue*
Wildlife Revenue​ ​
Wildlife Expenditures​*
Wildlife Expenditures

*FY14-15 Figures


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The Challenge

  • Operating costs continuously rise with inflation, but much of our revenue does not. ​
  • CPW's commitment to manage elk populations in 2008 resulted in reduced license numbers and related income. 
  • Costs such as personnel and health care consistently increase but as an enterprise agency, CPW does not receive general fund dollars from the legislature to address such payments. 
  • Expenses such as dam repair, building and property maintenance, new hunting and fishing access, and technological upgrades are necessary to maintain Colorado's world-class outdoor recreation opportunities. 
  • Parks used to receive support from tax dollars, but after the economic downturn of 2008, the general tax funding was reallocated to more immediate priorities in the state budget. ​


Inflation examples chart



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How We're Working to Solve It

  • ​​We have cut more than $40 million in wildlife expenditures and defunded approximately 50 wildlife positions since 2009.
  • Park programs reduced the number of full-time employees by 5% and the number of seasonal employees by 10%. We also closed Bonny State Park.
  • CPW has cut or reduced funding to programs such as:
    • ​Fishing is Fun 
    • Wetlands
    • Boating and Habitat Protection Grants 
    • Aquatic Nuisance Species program 
    • Big Game Access Program (BGAP)​
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How You Can Help

  • Watch our 2018 presentation​ and submit your feeback.​
  • Spread the word! Make sure that your friends and neighbors realize how valuable license fees, parks fees and registrations are to CPW's operations. 
  • Step outside your comfort zone! Try a new CPW activity that you haven't before.
  • Continue to purchase your CPW products every year, and keep participating in the outdoor activities you love.  
  • Donate​ or volunteer.




​​​​​Thank you for moving our programs forward with your fees and participation.​​

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